Prevention Point

Prevention Point Services

The Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) provides syringe access and comprehensive risk reduction services to individuals who currently inject substances. These services range from anonymous syringe exchange services to confidential navigation and care coordination services for young Intravenous Drug Users (IDUs). If you are currently injecting drugs or hormones and would like more information about free injection supplies (syringes, alcohol pads, sterile water, cottons, etc.) please stop into one of our fixed exchange sites (located in Johnson City & Ithaca), where you will be able to complete your anonymous enrollment.

FAQ

Frequenlty Asked Questions

How do I sign up?

The first time you come to the exchange or meet with one of our Peers (they’re people you may already know that can give out supplies for us), we go through an enrollment process with you. This can take about 10-15 minutes. We won’t ask you for your name, just some initials and your birthdate so we can make an anonymous code for you. We’ll ask you some questions about what you’re using and go over some safer injection education. After that, you’ll get all the supplies you need until you can do your next exchange.

Why should I sign up?

In New York, it’s legal to have syringes with or without residue on them, as long as you got those syringes from an exchange like ours or by buying them from a pharmacy. If you get stopped by police, you can show them your ID card and you shouldn’t be arrested or prosecuted for having syringes. The card only works for syringes, so unfortunately, we can’t help you out if you get charged for drugs or paraphernalia. The card also has a 24/7 number on it that an officer or other law enforcement can call to confirm that the ID code on the card matches what we have in our system – since we don’t know anyone’s name, we can only tell them if the ID code is legit.

How much does stuff cost?

Since we really want people to be as safe and healthy as possible, we’ve got a great price for all of our services. They’re free. Everything is free.

What can I get from the exchange?

We offer a variety of syringes, little ones for your veins and big ones for muscles. We have bottle caps, cotton (balls and pellets), sterile water, alcohol wipes, and wound care kits. There’s lots of other stuff too.

I don't want anyone knowing I use. Will you tell if I go to the exchange?

Nope. Your confidentiality is super important to us. We don’t ask for names around the exchange. You can know our names, but we understand if you don’t want to share yours. If we see you around town, don’t worry, we’ll be rude and pretend not to know you, unless you say “hi” first.

I can't get down to the exchange, how can I get supplies?

There’s a few ways to get supplies if you can’t get down to one of our offices. You can call and find out if there’s a Peer near you. Peers are volunteers that can hand out supplies for us in the community. Some can come to you and some can meet you near where you live. Another way, especially if you live way far from us, is to give us a call and make an appointment for a special arrangement. We can deliver supplies to you.

Where is the syringe disposal kiosk?

The exchange is a community disposal site. Any member of the community can bring used sharps for safe disposal to either of our exchange locations. Please note, this service is for sharps used for personal use; we cannot accept used sharps from businesses. Two secure kiosks are available for use when the exchange is closed. The kiosks accept small containers and loose syringes. If you have larger containers, please bring those to the exchange.

Can you help me get a naloxone (Narcan) kit?

Yup! We have intramuscular (injected into muscle) and intranasal (sprayed into the nose) kits available free of charge.

What do I do with my used syringes?

We have a few different sizes of sharps containers – they are hard plastic boxes that you can put used syringes in so no one will get stuck by a used needle and used needles can’t be reused. When you’ve filled up your container (we recommend stopping when it is three-quarters full) or when you need new supplies, bring the container back to the exchange and we’ll take care of the rest. If you don’t have a container handy, you can always break the tip off the syringe and stick it into the barrel of the syringe, then put the plunger back in. You can put that needle-less syringe into another container, like a laundry detergent bottle or a juice bottle, and bring it in to the exchange.

How can I get an HIV or Hep C test?

We offer free rapid HIV and HCV testing. We take a drop or two of blood and we can tell you your status in 15-20 minutes, depending on which test you’re here for. Our testing is confidential, which means we’ll ask you your name and other personal information. All your information is kept under double lock and key and no one will know you came in for a test unless you want them to know.

I can get HIV/Hep C from having sex. Do you have any tips for being safe?

We have a huge selection of safer sex stuff. We have tons of condoms, dental dams, female condoms, and lube. If you don’t know how to use these things, we’ll be happy to tell you how each one works and how to use it correctly.

I found syringes on the ground (park,sidewalk, etc.). What do I do?

Please do not touch the syringes. Give the exchange a call or email us at sep@stapinc.org and we can make arrangements to pick up those syringes or give you information and supplies to dispose of them safely. Please keep in mind that we may not always be able to get them right away and that we offer the syringe pick up services in the municipalities where we operate our syringe exchange locations, Ithaca and Johnson City.

What else can you do for me?

We have Prevention Care Managers that can help you find doctors, housing, food, legal help, and substance use treatment. We can connect you with a lot of different services, just call or stop in to ask a staff member.