Syringe Service Programs Are Proven, Effective Public Health Interventions

The effectiveness and positive benefits of syringe service and needle exchange programs are well-established and have been known for decades. Between 1991 and 1997, the US Government funded seven reports on clean needle programs for persons who inject drugs. The reports are unanimous in their conclusions that clean needle programs reduce HIV transmission, and none found that clean needle programs caused rates of drug use to increase. Since that time, dozens of articles and research studies have been published in peer-reviewed publications affirming SSP’s efficacy in encouraging and facilitating entry into treatment for intravenous drug users (IDUs) and thereby reducing illicit drug use. Numerous studies have also documented SSP’s effectiveness in reducing the risk of HIV infection among IDUs and their partners. The federal Department of Health and Human Services currently maintains a webpage on the effectiveness of syringe exchange programs at, last accessed January 30, 2017.


National Commission on AIDS, The Twin Epidemics of Substance Abuse and HIV (Washington DC: National Commission on AIDS, 1991); General Accounting Office, Needle Exchange Programs: Research Suggests Promise as an AIDS Prevention Strategy (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1993); Lurie, P. & Reingold, A.L., et al., The Public Health Impact of Needle Exchange Programs in the United States and Abroad (San Francisco, CA: University of California, 1993); Satcher, David, MD, (Note to Jo Ivey Bouffard), The Clinton Administration's Internal Reviews of Research on Needle Exchange Programs (Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control, December 10, 1993); National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, Normand, J., Vlahov, D. & Moses, L. (eds.), Preventing HIV Transmission: The Role of Sterile Needles and Bleach (Washington DC: National Academy Press, 1995); Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress, The Effectiveness of AIDS Prevention Efforts (Springfield, VA: National Technology Information Service, 1995); National Institutes of Health Consensus Panel, Interventions to Prevent HIV Risk Behaviors (Kensington, MD: National Institutes of Health Consensus Program Information Center, February 1997).
"Determination That a Demonstration Needle Exchange Program Would be Effective in Reducing Drug Abuse and the Risk of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Infection Among Intravenous Drug Users," Federal Register, February 23, 2011, Vol. 76, No. 36, p. 10038.