Understanding Syringe Exchange Programs: A Look at the Cincinnati Exchange Project

Understanding Syringe Exchange Programs: A Look at the Cincinnati Exchange Project

The Cincinnati Exchange Project (CEP) is the syringe exchange program in the Cincinnati area. The purpose of this program is to increase education and awareness about drug use and harm reduction; this project intends to help the drug using community healthier and increase drug treatment enrollment. Any drug user can visit one of the designated locations at the designated times to get connected to someone who will exchange a “dirty” syringe for a clean syringe. While the participant is at the site, they will receive free, rapid HIV and Hepatitis C testing, education regarding drug use, safer injection practices, safer sex, as well as information about where to get drug treatment and medical care.

The Cincinnati Exchange Project is based on a harm reduction model. Syringe-sharing can lead to the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C; syringe exchange programs reduce the likelihood of drug users sharing syringes and re-using syringes. While the CEP cannot force individuals to stop using drugs, it can help individuals engage in safer behavior and connect them to drug treatment and medical services. Several studies by organizations like the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health show that syringe exchange programs can reduce the spread of diseases like HIV and do not increase drug use by the individual or by the community.

The CEP is confidential and free, and there are trained health educators who can answer any questions a participant might have. On Wednesdays from 4-7PM, the CEP is located behind the Church of Our Savior at 65 E. Hollister. On Mondays from 3-6PM, the CEP is parked on Cooper St. between Cherry and Colerain.

Author: Bhumika Patel
March 20, 2015


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