We develop and operate health-promoting, illness-prevention programs for the benefit of the general public with a primary focus on serving the drug-using community.
Drug use and misuse is a public health issue. Through our initiatives and advocacy, we support unrestricted access to the tools and information drug users need to make healthier choices. We also promote the non-judgmental acceptance of drug users.
With his TV tray, Dave launched Tacoma Needle Exchange (TNE), the first legal exchange in the U.S. To support TNE and other programs, Dave soon joined with a handful of like-minded folks to form a nonprofit, Point Defiance AIDS Projects. The mission? To stem the tide of AIDS one life and one syringe at a time. Since then, our mission has grown. Our new name, The Dave Purchase Project, reflects the spirit of our founder while allowing us to provide leadership on a larger range of public health issues.
Dave would go on to become a founding member of the Harm Reduction Coalition, a founder of the harm-reduction movement in the U.S., and a pioneer in establishing the needle exchange program as one of the most successful public health intervention strategies for combatting the spread of bloodborne pathogens.
As Tacoma Needle Exchange grew and we learned more about our clients' needs, we helped pioneer the concept of mobile needle exchanges. We also brought SSPs across North America together to increase our buying power, reducing supply costs and increasing impact. The success of the U.S. AIDS movement and of Syringe Service Programs (SSP) like ours have dramatically reduced the prevalence of AIDS. But now there are new challenges to tackle like the opioid crisis and the rise of hepatitis.
We continue to work tirelessly to keep HIV at bay with the Tacoma Needle Exchange and through NASEN, our network that supports SSPs throughout North America with low-cost harm reduction supplies, education, research, and syringe-service advocacy. We’re excited to continue to push new harm-reduction strategies forward by being a local leader in coordinated care in Pierce County and leveraging what we learn to better support SSPs nationally.
“I wanted a job with a purpose and to make a positive impact.”
I'm passionate about creating solidarity in my community and helping my neighbors. I'm so happy I get to work at the Tacoma needle exchange because it increases my capacity to help others and do what I'm passionate about.
"Our former Executive Director, Alisa Solberg, introduced me to the field of harm reduction and I've been here ever since. I love learning more about the field and introducing it to others. I love the PNW but I am actually from the midwest and will always consider Iowa my home."
"I believe that harm reduction is doing the right thing. I enjoy sailing, spoiling my dog, and teaching kids to sail and be constructive with their hands."
"Harm Reduction to me, means meeting a person where they're at, in a non-judgmental environment, to help or support them in making safer decisions regarding their lifestyle. I am the clumsiest person on this planet."
My name is Christopher McKnight. I have worked in social services for the last several years. I worked as a student support counselor at high school/middle school. I have also worked as a PrEP Navigator, providing HIV/STI Testing and case management. Now I'm here at Tacoma Needles Exchange as an Outreach Worker. My wide range of skills I believe can benefit the community we serve.
“I come to DPP with over 30 years of accounting experience from manufacturing, casino, corporate trust accounts, to an accounting firm. Yet the most rewarding thing one can do is work where helping others is the main focus ~ serving with a purpose. Can't help but feel good when you are doing good for others.”
“I’m originally from Seattle, moved to Pierce County a few years ago. I’m passionate about harm reduction as it saved my life, and continues to save lives in my community. Harm reduction means treating people with dignity and respect. It means involvement and participation with the people we serve.”
"I am a community health outreach worker and interface directly with participants. As a former I.V. drug user who has spent years living outdoors and in public all around the country, I was very pleased to find employment that serves both communities. Advocating against the inhumane war on drugs and private prison systems is something very important to me, and getting to directly serve communities affected by them has a worth to me that can not be measured. I have been to all 48 states in this country with my dog Ransom, and this is one of my favorite places. I love raccoons I am learning the banjo."
"I am a mother of one, g’ma of 2, lover of travel, golf, and all things outdoors."
"Strong believer in the positive difference syringe service programs, supervised consumption sites, and safe supply can have on a person's life. Outside of work, I'm often busy with taking naps, building Lego's, and playing Animal Crossing New Horizons."
“Harm Reduction is meeting people where they are at, without judgment, and providing the resources for them to make the healthiest/safest choice they want.”
"I have worked in the field of Public Health since the early 1990s. Good Public Health talks about Harm Reduction. Great Public Health integrates Harm Reduction. I'm an avid runner and recently my son and I have taken up archery."
"Everyone is somebody's someone." And everyone is worth taking care of. I grow fruits, vegetables, and chickens in my spare time."