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December 02, 2022
You are here : Public Health  >  Syringe Exchange

Public Health

Jackson County Syringe Exchange Program

The Jackson County Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) is an evidence-based program that uses public health strategies to reduce the spread of serious infections like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, other infections, and reduce the risk of overdose among people who use drugs. Syringe exchanges are federally and internationally recognized element of a comprehensive response to drug misuse.

Services Include:

  • Safe disposal of used syringes

  • Access to sterile syringes, new safer injection supplies, and new sharps container

  • Overdose rescue kits including naloxone a drug used to reverse opioid overdose.

    • Naloxone kits are available from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Services are provided by HIV Alliance.

  • Risk reduction counseling

  • Safer sex supplies

  • Wound care supplies and education

  • Referrals to medical and mental health care, shelter services, and alcohol and drug treatment.

Syringe disposal at exchange sites is intended for syringe exchange clients; it is not a medical waste disposal site.  To dispose of medical waste, check with your pharmacy as some pharmacies can accept and dispose of medical waste if you are a pharmacy patient.  Rogue Disposal also has a residential medical waste disposal program. Another option is to check with the pharmaceutical company; depending on the medication, some pharmaceutical companies have disposal programs available.

Syringe Exchange Schedule

Syringe Exchange clinic will be closed for government observed holidays.

 

Location: 140 South Holly Street, Medford, OR. Inside the Health & Human Services building in room 1005

Hours: Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The Syringe Exchange Program closes at 4:00 pm, please arrive before this time to receive services.  

Oregon’s Good Samaritan Overdose Law: If someone is overdosing in Oregon and you seek medical help, neither of you can be arrested or prosecuted for:

  1. Possessing drugs or drug paraphernalia

  2. Being in a place where drugs are used

  3. Violating probation or parole because of #1 or #2

  4. Outstanding warrants related to #1 or #2

FAQs About Syringe Exchange

Is syringe exchange legal?

In Oregon, it is legal for a person over 18 years of age to purchase syringes without a prescription. Hypodermic syringes and needles are exempted from the Oregon drug paraphernalia law (ORS.475.525).

 

Do syringe exchange programs encourage or initiate drug use?

Syringe exchange programs have existed since the beginning of the HIV epidemic of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s to prevent the spread of HIV among injection drug users. Because programs have been operating since this time, multiple researchers have been able to examine this question. Research results clearly show that it does not lead to an increase in drug use or initiation of drug use. In fact, syringe exchange programs have become vital for substance abuse treatment readiness and referral. In Tacoma, Washington, the syringe exchange program is the single largest source of treatment referrals in the entire county.

 

What are the benefits of having a syringe exchange program?

Syringe exchange programs work with populations who may not be ready to stop abusing drugs. Research has shown that syringe exchange programs significantly reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among people who use injection drugs, it achieves safer injection behavior by injection drug users, connects injection drug users to health care services and other social services, promotes entry into and retention in drug addiction treatment, and it reduces the number of improperly discarded needles and syringes in the community.

 

Public health efforts to reach out with syringe exchange services to those who may not be able or willing to stop injecting drugs is one part of the solution. Our primary mission is to prevent the spread of blood-borne infections such as HIV and hepatitis C. Many government agencies and community-based organizations recommend one-time-only use of sterile as an important strategy to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne infections. Some of these organizations include: the U.S. Public Health Service, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Prevention Services Task Force, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Research Council, the National Commission on AIDS, the American Medical Association, and many others.

 

How does the Jackson County Public Health Syringe Exchange Program Support Proper Syringe Disposal?

The county's syringe exchange site accepts syringes from people who use the exchange services for safe disposal. The program also provide clients with free sharps containers for secure storage of used syringes. Staff educate clients about safe storage and disposal of sharps.

 

Are used syringes dangerous?

Seeing discarded syringes is upsetting, especially for parents of young children. However, while people who share syringes can transmit infections, there is little proven risk to someone who is accidentally poked or scratched by a discarded syringe. According to the CDC, there have been no reported transmission of HIV following injuries by syringes discarded in public places. There have been single case reports of hepatitis B and hepatitis C transmission.