Description of Strategy
Syringe exchange programs (SEPs) provide free, sterile needles to drug users with the intention of preventing infectious diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis. They are an effective strategy for limiting the consequences associated with illicit opioid use. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that rural areas are poorly served by SEPs compared to urban areas (Des Jarlais et al., 2013), with an increase in injection drug use and syringe sharing among rural, white communities (Wejnert et al., 2016).
Wyoming state statute does not allow for delivery of, or possession with intent to deliver, drug paraphernalia, which includes syringes (§ 35-7-1056). Additionally, Wyoming does not have a law to establish a syringe services program. State law does not prohibit possession of drug paraphernalia.
Discussion of Effectiveness
Several studies have found that states with SEPS are associated with a significant reduction in the risk of intravenous drug users contracting HIV or Hepatitis B or C (Hagen et al., 1995; Bramson et al., 2015). Likewise, SEPs are not associated with increases in injection drug use, or needle sharing, and are can successfully provide a pathway to treatment (Guydish et al., 1993; Strathdee et al., 1999; Hagan et al., 2000). Finally, Nguyen et al. (2014) point out that SEPs are cost-effective, with a national gain of $7.58 for every $1.00 spent.
Bramson, H., Des Jarlais, D., Arasteh, K., Nugent, A., Guardino, V., Feelemyer, J., & Hodel, D. (2015). State laws, syringe exchange, and HIV among persons who inject drugs in the United States: History and effectiveness. Journal of Public Health Policy 36, 212 – 230.
Delivery of, or possession with intent to deliver, drug paraphernalia. Wyoming § 35-7-1056 (2011).
Des Jarlais, D. C., Nugent, A., Solberg, A., Feelemyer, J., Mermin, J., & Holtzman, D. (2015). Syringe service programs for persons who inject drugs in urban, suburban, and rural areas — United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 64(48), 1337–1341.
Guydish, J., Bucardo, J., Young, M., Woods, W., Grinstead, O., & Clark, W. (1993). Evaluating needle exchange: Are there negative effects? AIDS, 7(6), 871–6.
Hagan, H., Jarlais, D. C., Friedman, S. R., Purchase, D., & Alter, M. J. (1995). Reduced risk of hepatitis B and hepatitis C among injection drug users in the Tacoma syringe exchange program. American Journal of Public Health, 85(11), 1531–1537.
Hagan, H., McGough, J.P., Thiede, H., Hopkins, S., Duchin, J., & Alexander, E. R. (2000). Reduced injection frequency and increased entry and retention in drug treatment associated with needle-exchange participation in Seattle drug injectors. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 19(3), 247–252.
Nguyen, T. Q., Weir, B. W., Des Jarlais, D. C., Pinkerton, S. D., & Holtgrave, D. R. (2014). Syringe exchange in the United States: A national level economic evaluation of hypothetical increases in investment. AIDS and Behavior, 18(11), 2144–2155.
Strathdee, S. A., Celentano, D. D., Shah, N., Lyles, C., Stambolis, V. A., Macalino, G., Nelson, K., & Vlahov, D. (1999). Needle-exchange attendance and health care utilization promote entry into detoxification. Journal of Urban Health, 76(4), 448–60.
Wejnert, C., Hess, K. L., Hall, H. I., Van Handel, M., Hayes, D., Fulton, P., An, Q., Koenig, L. J., Prejean, J., & Valleroy, L. A. (2016). Vital signs: Trends in HIV diagnoses, risk behaviors, and prevention among persons who inject drugs — United States. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(47), 1336–1342.