The Public Health Alliance for Syringe Access (PHASA) was formed in 2011. Our mission is to reduce the injection-related transmission of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other blood borne diseases in Nevada by allowing for the legal sale, distribution, possession, and safe disposal of sterile syringes.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), viral hepatitis, and other infectious diseases that may be transmitted through the use of unsterile syringes and needles pose a major health threat, causing thousands of deaths and millions of dollars in preventable health care costs in the U.S. each year. Injection drug use is one of the most common methods of transmission for HIV and hepatitis c due to sharing of needles and syringes.
•In Nevada, the use of shared syringes contributed to 10% of the new HIV and AIDS
•The use of shared syringes has been associated with 16% of all HIV and AIDS cases diagnosed in the state to date.
There are currently 184 known syringe access programs in 36 states. Eleven states have deregulated the sale or possession of syringes in an effort to reduce the spread of blood borne diseases (Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin). To date, no state that has deregulated syringes for this purpose has rescinded the change.
More than 200 studies have shown that making sterile syringes accessible to people who inject drugs reduces the spread of HIV and viral hepatitis and does not contribute to increased drug use, crime, or unsafe syringe disposal. The research further shows that access to sterile syringes reduces the risk of needle stick injuries among law enforcement and other public servants and can help lower the number or contaminated syringes found in public places such as parks.
In 2013, the Nevada State Legislature passed SB410, which authorizes certain entities to establish a program for the safe distribution and disposal of hypodermic devices and certain other material; requiring the State Board of Health to establish guidelines governing such a program; providing that the possession of a trace amount of a controlled substance is not a criminal offense in certain circumstances; removing hypodermic devices from the list of paraphernalia that is prohibited for delivery, sale, possession, manufacture or use in this State; providing that hypodermic devices may be sold or furnished without a prescription if not prohibited by federal law in certain circumstances; repealing a provision which makes it a crime to misuse a hypodermic device; and providing other matters properly relating thereto. To read the full language of the bill: http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Bills/SB/SB410_EN.pdf
PHASA is currently working with the Division of Public and Behavioral Health to establish Syringe Service Program guidelines for the state of Nevada and is working with local entities regarding policies affecting opioid overdose death.