JAMESTOWN – A syringe-exchange program is now underway in Jamestown.
That’s according to the Jamestown Post-Journal, which is reporting that Evergreen Health Services’ syringe-exchange program – also known as Project S.A.F.E. – began last week.
According to officials with Evergreen Health Services – the exchange program provides a one-to-one exchange of used syringes for clean ones. The program also allows for the safe disposal of used syringes, overdose-prevention training, counseling, and a variety of safety and recovery workshops. It’s only the second syringe-exchange program in Western New York, with the other being located in Buffalo.
Project S.A.F.E. was approved earlier this year by the state health department after receiving the endorsement of several local officials, including Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings.
During a recent interview with WRFA, Snellings said he supports the program for a variety of reasons.
“This program goes beyond being just a needle exchange,” Snellings said. “They provide education – education in the sense of health issues associated with [sharing needles]. Hepatitis C is a big one and HIV. We’ve had officers who’ve been stuck by needles. We’ve had officers who’ve been exposed to fluids and who’ve had to take precautionary medicines to address potential exposures.”
The chief also said the needle exchange will reduce the the hazzard associated with the number of syringes that are being found throughout the city.
“We’ve had an increase in calls for officers to respond and recover syringes that have been found on city streets, parking lots, and vacant properties. We are dealing with this so if they can help with that, to me that’s a bonus.”
This new initiative is designed to be operated in partnership with other human service agencies and would be housed with the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County at the Gateway Center, located at 31 Water St., Suite 7, Jamestown.
Anyone who wants information or wants to link someone to the syringe-exchange program should call 664-7855 or visit www.evergreenhs.org/southerntier.