“New Points” Syringe Service Program to begin at Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties

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Packaged syringes for a clean needle exchange program.

DELTA AND MENOMINEE COUNTIES, Mich. (WJMN) – Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties (PHDM) is now offering a Syringe Service Program (SSP), called New Points. This service is being offered in both Delta and Menominee Counties. Funding for this program is provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and NorthCare Network. The purpose of a SSP is to reduce risk for both the individuals using substances and the community as a whole; while helping those individuals move towards treatment and recovery.

SSP’s are community-based programs that provide access to sterile syringes, needles and other clean paraphernalia for individuals injecting street drugs. This prevents sharing of used equipment and decreases the transmission of infectious disease. New Points will also offer safe disposal of used needles and syringes. New Points will provide a range of health services and offer harm reduction to those struggling with a substance use disorder. Participants will be offered vaccinations and testing opportunities for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C, and sexually transmitted diseases. Education about safer choices and referrals to medical, mental health, and recovery services will be provided.

The opiate crisis is fueling a dramatic increase in infectious disease. Research by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) indicates most of the increase is the result of people sharing needles to inject heroin and other drugs. In 2018 and 2019, over 60% of Hep C cases in Delta and Menominee counties reported intravenous drug use. The CDC reports that access to comprehensive SSP’s are a key strategy in reducing the spread of disease.

Michael Snyder, RS, MPA, Health Officer/Administrator of PHDM, indicated “PHDM offers many of the services provided by a comprehensive SSP, therefore making it a beneficial program under the Public Health umbrella. If a participant is in need of another service offered by Public Health, a connection to this program will be made. It is an easy transition for the coordination of care.”

What SSP’s DO:

· Reduce drug use by succeeding in getting more people to enter into drug treatment and to stop injecting drugs.

· Reduce drug overdose deaths.

· Reduce needlestick injuries among local law enforcement officers.

· Reduce new HIV and hepatitis infections.

· Save on healthcare costs by preventing disease.

What SSP’s DO NOT DO:

· Increase crime.

· Increase IV drug use.

Mary Claire Massi-Lee, Project Coordinator for New Points stated “intravenous drug use is not a stand-alone issue for those who have substance use disorders. IV drug use often brings difficulties with housing, disease, finances, and mental health issues which have an effect on health outcomes. PHDM is looking forward to offering participants resources needed to improve their quality of life.”

For more information, contact Mary Claire Massi-Lee at 906-789-8130.

Program Hours (walk-in services)

Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties

909 Tenth Avenue

Menominee, MI

Wednesdays 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Public Health, Delta & Menominee

2920 College Ave

Escanaba, MI

Thursdays 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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