January 12, 2021

“It’s already rough out here.”

Syringe service programs play a critical role in the lives of people who use drugs, providing not only sterile injection equipment and naloxone kits for overdose reversal, but also a safe and welcoming place to take a shower and get a cup of coffee. Some programs, like New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE) in East Harlem, also provide medical care, including hepatitis C treatment and buprenorphine, a medication for opioid use disorder. In early 2019, when the Covid pandemic hit New York City and led to widespread disruptions in routine healthcare delivery, syringe service programs like NYHRE rapidly adjusted their model of care in order to sustain their life-saving programming. Hear from Sheree, a participant at NYHRE as well as Pia Marcus, Director of Syringe Access and Outreach for NYHRE and Washington Heights Corner Program, about their experiences.

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