Delivering Syringe Exchange Services Through Satellite Exchangers

The Sacramento Area Needle Exchange, USA

Published in: International Journal of Drug Policy, v. 14, no. 5-6, Dec. 2003, p. 461-463

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2002

by Rachel Anderson, Lynell Clancy, Neil M. Flynn, Alex H. Kral, Ricky N. Bluthenthal

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An important operational aspect of Syringe Exchange Programmes (SEPs) is the venue of service delivery. This report describes the programmatic features of the Sacramento Area Needle Exchange (SANE), an illegal SEP operating in California, USA. SANE utilises satellite exchangers to distribute the bulk of its syringes and HIV risk reduction supplies. Advantages of relying primarily on Designated Exchangers (DE) for delivery of SEP services are that it: (1) allows for coverage of a large geographical area; (2) keeps operational cost low; (3) provides syringes to clients who may not want to or cannot use fixed site programmes; (4) limits the possibility of detection of programme personnel and clients by law enforcement. Limitations are that: (1) it is not as conducive as fixed sites to providing a wide range of ancillary services; (2) it may not be optimal for drug users who do not want to be reliant on other people for access to syringes; (3) those who receive services from a satellite exchanger may not derive as much counselling and referral services as direct exchangers. The lack of legal status, political support and adequate funding threatens the programme's existence.

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