The state’s first syringe exchange program has opened its doors.
Earlier this month Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill into law making such programs legal, allowing drug users to exchange used needles for clean ones.
The program in Claremont is led by a group of Dartmouth Medical students under the name Project 439. And it’s run out of a local soup kitchen using donations and grants.
The exchange officially opened last week with about eight clients coming in for services. But co-founder Louisa Chen says she expects once the word is out many more people will show up.
“We think that it’s really going to impact the number of opioid overdose deaths in the state, decrease the transmission of blood borne diseases and get needles off the streets,” Chen said.
Besides exchanging needless, the program offers HIV and Hepatitis C testing, the overdose reversal drug Narcan and tips for people seeking help with addiction.
While this appears to be the first exchange officially open in New Hampshire, other organizations across the state are considering it.