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Our initiatives

Dave Purchase Project seeks to stop the spread of bloodborne pathogens such as HIV/HCV among drug users and reduce the harms to individuals and communities associated with drug use.

Tacoma Needle Exchange (TNE) integrates lessons learned during our interactions with NASEN syringe service programs (SSPs) into the activities we conduct at our local exchange. In turn, we share lessons learned locally with our national partners. We don’t and won’t recommend products or practices we haven’t thoroughly tested ourselves. We constantly seek out new products and best practices and share what we have learned nationally, through NASEN, so that all SSPs can integrate these lessons locally to improve the services they provide.

Two harm reduction programs. One goal.

Logo: NASEN - North American Syringe Exchange Network

Our national network, NASEN, is most well known for its Buyers' Club, a purchasing network that leverages co-operative buying power to acquire the lowest syringe prices for SSPs, but NASEN does much more than that.

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Our NASEN services and activities include:

  • Buyers' Club (BC):  In Fiscal Year 2016-17, the BC purchased more than $6,600,000 in supplies on behalf of 285 SEPs. In Fiscal Year 2017-18 BC purchased more than $10,000,000.00 in harm reduction supplies for approximately 330 SEPs. It is estimated the BC saves the field of SEPs more than $2,000,000 annually.
  • Start-up Kits: NASEN is one of the only sources of start-up assistance for new syringe exchange programs with little or no operational history. We provide financial and technical help to grassroots programs in areas of the country with limited resources.
  • U.S. Syringe Exchange Directory: The purpose of our NASEN U.S. Syringe Exchange Directory is to facilitate communication and networking among SEPs. Many programs operate under conditions that do not allow them to publish their information. We act as a gatekeeper, ensuring data can be collected from the SEPs and general information can be disseminated to them while keeping each program's information confidential.
  • Fiscal Sponsorship: Many small and emerging SEPs have not received 501(c)(3) designation. Through NASEN, we can act as a fiscal sponsor to assist these programs as they apply for funding and solicit donations.
  • Loan Assistance: Occasionally, SEPs cannot cover operating expenses for a period of time. This generally occurs when a grant has been awarded but receipt of funding is delayed. We provide short-term assistance in the form of a loan or credit with the Buyers Club so the program is not forced to curtail or cease operations.
  • Dave Purchase Memorial Syringe Exchange Survey: Our NASEN SEPs collaborate annually with the Beth Israel Medical Center (BIMC) to conduct the most comprehensive national survey of syringe exchanges. Since 1994, survey results have provided the only source of current data on SEP operations in the U.S. This information is vital to syringe-exchange-related policy work, including efforts to reverse the federal ban on funding for syringe exchange. We make the survey data available to policymakers, resource allocators, and syringe exchange providers.
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Logo: TNE - Tacoma Needle Exchange

Our TNE initiative uses evidence-based interventions to increase access to the tools, info, and resources people need to care for themselves. The result? Better health for participants and reduced healthcare costs for everyone.

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Our TNE services and activities include:

  • Education and distribution - We educate our participants on safer injection and sexual practices and distribute sterile injecting equipment and safer sex materials. This effort reduces disease transmission, injection-related wounds, skin and soft tissue infections, and amputations.
  • Wound care - We distribute specially designed wound care kits for the treatment and containment of community-acquired MRSA.
  • Public safety - We exchange in excess of 2 million syringes annually through TNE. Removing this volume of syringes from the waste stream improves the safety of the general public, sanitation workers, police, and firefighters. We partner with the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Police Department, local businesses, and community members to ensure proper clean-up of used syringes discarded in neighborhoods and public spaces.
  • Testing, support, and referrals - Our community health workers provide personal support for vulnerable individuals, referrals to treatment for substance use disorders and mental illness, access to health and social services, testing and counseling for HIV/HCV/Syphilis, and assistance with health insurance enrollment.
  • Care coordination - Our care coordinators transport and accompany participants to health appointments, assist with acquiring and maintaining housing, while promoting medication management and treatment adherence.
  • Overdose-reversal training - In conjunction with the University of Washington, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, our TNE staff train first responders like the Puyallup Police Department, Puyallup Tribal Police, Orting Police Department, and lay individuals to administer Naloxone to individuals experiencing an opioid overdose.