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RECOMMENDED BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS* IN THE UNITED STATES
RESULTS OF A CONSENSUS MEETING
In this report we use the widely-recognized term “syringe exchange program” (SEP) as an abbreviated reference to the vast range of programmatic approaches to the provision of new and sterile syringes to injection drug users (IDUs). Some SEPs operate as an exchange, requiring participants to return used syringes and exchange them for new, sterile ones. Many other SEPs, however, function more as a “syringe distribution” program, providing participants with as many sterile syringes as requested, without condition. In addition, some SEPs are self-contained, freestanding programs, while in other instances the SEP function of a program may be secondary to its primary mission (e.g., a shelter for the homeless whose services include sterile syringe exchange/distribution). Throughout this report, we intend “SEP” to capture the entirety of this programmatic variation. Elsewhere this service carries the name needle/syringe program (NSP) or sterile syringe provision (SSP). Although these labels may signify more accurately the substantive function of SEPs, they enjoy more limited usage in the United States.