Persons who inject drugs can drastically reduce their risk of receiving and transmitting HIV, viral hepatitis, and other blood-borne infections by using a sterile (new) needle and syringe for every injection. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) supports programs where individuals who inject drugs can access sterile needles and syringes through Syringe Service Programs (SSPs). SSPs are also known as “Needle Exchange Programs” or “Syringe Exchange Program”, and are based in the community. Through these programs, persons who inject drugs can access sterile needles and syringes, and supplies like cookers, cottons, tourniquets, and sharps containers free of cost (supplies in addition to needles and syringes may vary from program to program).
SSPs also are places to dispose of used needles and syringes, and connect persons who inject drugs to harm reduction services, such as testing for HIV, Hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted infections, as well as overdose education, Narcan/Naloxone distribution, and referrals to treatment.
Check out the calendar for the SSPs in Lowell, updated May 2020: Lowell Syringe Services Program Schedule 05-2020
For additional SSP locations near you, check out this website run by Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH).