Syringe Exchange Programs (SEPs), also known as syringe services programs (SSPs), are community-based programs that provide access to sterile needles and syringes free of charge. The programs also facilitate safe disposal of used needles and syringes. SEPs are an effective component of a comprehensive, integrated approach to HIV and hepatitis C prevention among people who inject drugs. Most SEPs offer other prevention materials and services, such as HIV/HCV education; overdose prevention, including Naloxone distribution; referral to substance abuse treatment programs; and counseling and testing for HIV and hepatitis C.
Syringe exchange programs became legal in Utah on March 25, 2016, the day Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill 308 into law. The bill went into effect May 10, 2016, and states that agencies in Utah “may operate a syringe exchange program in the state to prevent the transmission of disease and reduce morbidity and mortality among individuals who inject drugs and those individuals’ contacts.” HB 308 does not fund syringe exchange programs in Utah, it only provides guidelines and reporting requirements and follows the restrictions of federal funding.
For detailed information on the Syringe Exchange law, visit the Administrative Code. The rule requires agencies conducting SEPs to register with UDOH and provide quarterly reports of activities to UDOH, which will be analyzed and reported annually to the Utah State Legislature, to show effectiveness and sustainability of the program. UDOH provides support, technical assistance, training and guidance to all Utah SEPs and distributes funding as available.