Nashua will soon have its first syringe exchange program for injection drug users.
The program is not the typical bricks-and-mortar needle exchange. It’s designed on an outreach model, where recovery workers go into the community and provide clean needles, collect used ones, and provide resources for HIV/Hep C testing and treatment referrals.
Those looking for services can call a number and arrange a meetup.
Research shows this model works best, said Elyssa Clairmont of the Nashua Public Health Department.
“They don’t feel like they are going into a place that is labeled a syringe exchange and feeling that stigma,” Clairmont said.
The city is also considering the idea of a mobile syringe van.
“It doesn’t encourage drug use, it doesn’t increase overdoses, it doesn’t draw unwanted community members – it doesn’t do any of that. It meets people where they are with their disease,” Clairmont said.
State lawmakers legalized needle exchanges last year. There's currently only one active exchange program on the Seacoast.
The Nashua program kicks off Feb. 1. Call 978-743-9636 for services.