MEDFORD, Ore. -- You can now exchange used syringes for new ones in Jackson County. It's part of The Jackson County Syringe Exchange Program (SEP). The Department of Public Health says it's a way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other diseases transmitted through the blood.
The program is every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It's located at 140 South Holly Street in Medford, on the first floor of the building in room 1005.
All services are anonymous. You can exchange syringes for new ones, get safe injection supplies, wound care supplies, fentanyl test strips, and safe sex supplies. You can also get assistance with risk reduction counseling, referrals to medical care. The department says that naloxone kits are provided twice a month through the HIV Alliance.
The Syringe Exchange Program does have ground rules. It says it needs to take in the same number of syringes that it gives out. It needs to see the number of used syringes somebody is exchanging. It has the final say on the number of syringes exchanged. Finally, it respects clients, and it asks them to respect the program.
On the department's website it answers some common questions asked about the program.
In response to whether or not the program will encourage drug use, the department says in part:
"Research results clearly show that it does not lead to an increase in drug use or initiation of drug use. In fact, syringe exchange programs have become vital for substance abuse treatment readiness and referral. In Tacoma, Washington, the syringe exchange program is the single largest source of treatment referrals in the entire county."
When asked what the benefits are to having a syringe exchange program, it says in part:
"Syringe exchange programs work with populations who may not be ready to stop abusing drugs. Research has shown that syringe exchange programs significantly reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among injection drug users, it achieves safer injection behavior by injection drug users, connects injection drug users to health care services and other social services, promotes entry into and retention in drug addiction treatment, and it reduces the number of improperly discarded needles and syringes in the community."
To read their full statements, and for more information on the Jackson County Syringe Exchange Program click here.