Syringe services programs

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help residents access health services. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Community-based programs that provide access to sterile needles, syringes, and other injection equipment free of cost to people who inject drugs
  • Promote safe disposal of used equipment
  • Often provide people who inject drugs with other supporting services (overdose risk education, condoms, naloxone, vaccinations, etc.)
  • SSPs vary by size, scope, geographic location, and setting
Target Population
Cost per Participant
Not available

Evidence and impacts


Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

  • Reduced drug use and overdose
  • Improved neighborhood safety
  • Reduced HIV infection
  • Reduced injection risk behavior

Best practices in implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Syringe services programs are a critical component of broader comprehensive harm reduction approaches, which should also offer counseling, counteracting risky behaviors like unprotected sex, referrals to medical professionals, and expanded access to health care.
  • Partnerships with counseling centers and educational resource providers can enable greater access to these services.
  • Syringe service providers should be trained to interact safely and respectfully with patients. Partnerships with law enforcement can aid in this training.
  • Stigma is one of the primary barriers to individuals seeking syringe services. Reducing stigma around utilization of these services can help increase participation.