The Public Health Alliance for Syringe Access (PHASA) was formed in 2011 as an ad hoc policy committee to the Nevada State AIDS Task Force to bring forth policy change regarding Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 458.480, which prohibited the distribution of hypodermic devices beyond medical purposes. This law served as a barrier to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne illnesses by inhibiting syringe service programs and the distribution of hypodermic devices to people who inject drugs. Syringe Service programs are considered evidence based practice to reduce the spread of disease among people who inject drugs and have also provided linkages into continued care.
In 2012, PHASA evolved to become an ad hoc policy of the Northern Nevada Outreach Team (NNOT) with the same mission in mind. Taking lessons from the 2011 Nevada legislative session, PHASA conducted a statewide needs assessment for syringe access to obtain localized data, mobilized the community for support and testimony, and educated all of Nevada on the benefits of syringe service programs. In 2013, SB 410 passed (sponsored by Senator David Parks) and Governor Brian Sandoval signed legislation into law. In 2014, the first syringe service program in Nevada opened called Change Point in Reno, Nevada.
PHASA has since evolved to the Public Health Alliance for Safety Access to tackle further policy, systems and environmental changes that will establish sound law regarding health and wellness for all Nevadans. In the 2015 legislative session, PHASA will be tackling the regulation of naloxone distribution which provides as a barrier to reduce opioid overdose deaths in Nevada. Additionally, PHASA will be supporting legislative reform to institute a Good Samaritan Law in Nevada which will protect people from persecution if they assist an individual who may be fatally sick from a drug overdose.