Safety First Syringe Exchange

SEP logoSafety First Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) is a prevention strategy that is proven to work.



Safety First SEP

  • Provides new sterile syringes and other safer injection supplies.
  • Helps injection drug users (IDUs) adopt behaviors which reduce their risk of contracting HIV or viral hepatitis.
    Provides safe disposal of used syringes.
  • Educates clients about the importance of avoiding syringe sharing, safer injection techniques, and safer sex practices.
  • Offers risk reduction counseling and referrals to HIV/STD/Hepatitis counseling and testing, health care, substance use programs, and social services.
  • Provides male/female condoms, dental dams, and other safer sex supplies with instruction and demonstrations on their proper use

ACR's Safety First Syringe Exchange program consists of one mobile unit, SEP staff, and Peer Educators.

  • The mobile unit operates at established locations on scheduled days and times. 
  • Public Health Law allows individuals to legally obtain and transport syringes provided they enroll in a confidential SEP program and carry an identification card with a unique number. 
  • Staff and Peer Educators visit targeted neighborhoods; educate about the dangers of sharing needles, injection equipment, and provide sterile syringes.
  • Highly-trained peers also exchange syringes within their own social networks.
  • Exchanges for IDU's can be arranged by SEP Staff in ACR's nine county region.

SEP VanTo become part of the Safety First Syringe Exchange Program, visit the Mobile Unit at the corner of Dudley and Fitch Street in Syracuse between 2:30 and 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or call 315.475.2430.

Harm Reduction
Injection drug users (IDUs) can become infected with
HIV and Hepatitis C then transmit the viruses to others
by sharing contaminated syringes and other injection
equipment or through high-risk sexual behaviors. The
CDC estimates that 20% of HIV infections occur in this

The Rewards
The Safety First Syringe Exchange Program is a preven-
tion strategy that is proven to work.  The AIDS Institute
of the New York State Department of Health estimates
that the twenty-one established syringe exchange
programs may be responsible for at least a 50 percent
and possibly as much as a 75 percent decline in rates
of new HIV infection.


Safety First Outreach served 5,729 individuals in 2009.