Syringe exchange in the United States, 1996: A national profile

Denise Paone, Jessica Clark, Qiuhu Shi, David Purchase, Don C. Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. This paper provides 1996 information on the status of US syringe exchange programs and compares these findings with data from our 1994 survey. Methods. In November 1996, questionnaires were mailed to 101 syringe exchange programs. Program directors were contacted to conduct telephone interviews based on the mailed questionnaires. Data collected included number of syringes exchanged, syringe exchange program operations, legal status, and services offered. Results. Eighty-seven programs participated in the survey. A total of 46 (53%) were legal, 20 (23%) were illegal but tolerated, and 21 (24%) were illegal-underground. Since 1994, there has been a 54% increase in the number of cities and a 38% increase in the number of states with syringe exchange programs. Eighty-four programs reported exchanging approximately 14 million syringes, a 75% increase from 1994. Syringe exchange programs also provided a variety of other services and supplies, and legal programs were more likely than illegal ones to provide these services. Conclusion. Despite continued lack of federal funding, syringe exchange programs expanded in terms of the number of syringes exchanged, the geographic distribution of programs, and the range of services offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-46
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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