Practice management

Improper Syringe Disposal Mitigated By Syringe Service Programs

Implementation of a Syringe Services Program (SSP) is associated with a significant decrease in improperly discarded syringes, according to the results of a recent study.

In their study, the researchers sought to examine the effects of the establishment of a Miami-based SSP in 2016. They conducted inspection walkthroughs of random census blocks within communities with the highest quartile of narcotics-related arrests, geocoding syringe locations and surveyed adult people who inject drugs (PWID) both before (n = 448) and after (n = 482) the SSP was initiated.

Overall, 191 syringes were found per 1000 blocks post-implementation, compared with 371 per 1000 blocks pre-implementation. In the surveys, 70% of PWID reported improper disposal of syringes post-implementation compared with 97% pre-implementation.

“There was a significant decrease in the number of improperly discarded syringes in public in Miami after the implementation of an SSP. Providing PWID with proper disposal venues such as an SSP could decrease public disposal in other communities.”

—Michael Potts


Levine H, Bartholomew TS, Rea-Wilson V, et al. Syringe disposal among people who inject drugs before and after the implementation of a syringe services program. [published online June 29, 2019]. Drug Alcohol Depend. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.04.025.