IPSWICH — The Board of Health announces that a syringe services program for town residents will begin next week.
The Board authorized the services program in June after public meetings with representatives of North Shore Health Project and a state public health official. Following that authorization the state Department of Public Health selected One Stop, a program of the North Shore Health Project, as vendor. The DPH funds this effort.
One Stop representatives will be in Ipswich each Tuesday offering free, confidential harm reduction services at one of three locations: the Ipswich Housing Authority parking lot near The Open Door pantry, the Ipswich MBTA commuter rail lot on Peatfield Street, and the Hammatt Street municipal parking lot.
Times and locations will vary each week; those interested in using the service may call or text One Stop’s confidential line at 978-515-0455. Anyone homebound or with a transportation issue may contact One Stop for at-home service.
Users of the program may:
- Obtain sterile needles and syringes free of cost
- Dispose used needles, syringes and sharps
- Be connected to testing for hepatitis C, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections
- Receive overdose prevention education
- Have access to Narcan (naloxone)
Persons who inject drugs can substantially reduce their risk of getting and transmitting HIV, viral hepatitis, and other blood-borne infections by using a sterile (new) needle and syringe for every injection.
More than 40 communities have approved such a program. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health supports programs where persons who inject drugs can access sterile needles and syringes through syringe services programs.
“We encourage all to take advantage of this service, which will reduce the spread of diseases and improve the overall health of our community,” Board of Health Chair Susan C. Hubbard said.