How do I sign up for services?
On your first visit, we request that you fill out a packet of paperwork asking for demographic information and basic health and lifestyle questions. The paperwork takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.
We ask that for your first visit, you arrive no later than 15 minutes before we close. You must fill out the paperwork only once. After you finish the paperwork, we give you a client card. Every visit after your first is usually very quick.
What is the purpose of the paperwork?
The paperwork is anonymous. You do not need to provide your name. We track data using an anonymous identification number provided to each participant. All the data is compiled into statistics, and we use the information to help us get grants and funding to keep the program up and running.
Do I need an ID?
No ID is necessary. Our services are confidential.
What supplies do you have available?
This is a one-for-one program. We provide one new, sterile syringe in exchange for each syringe you bring. If you give us five syringes, we will give you five new syringes. We also offer safe injection supplies including:
- alcohol prep pads
- disposable tourniquets
- disposable cookers
Hepatitis C, B, and HIV can spread through cottons (filters) and cookers as well as syringes. The Hepatitis C virus can live for many weeks outside of the body. Never share injection equipment with others.
What syringes sizes do you offer?
We always give out 28 gauge, 1/2”, 1 CC syringes (“longs”). You may request 5/16” tips (“shorts” or “beestingers”). We usually have some available. We also have intramuscular syringes available for those injecting steroids or hormone injections.
How do I get Naloxone?
When we have naloxone (Narcan) available, we distribute it free of charge. Since we rely on donations to maintain our supply, sometimes we have it and sometimes we don’t. You just need to ask. Due to the high demand, we cannot hold it or start a wait list.
If you need naloxone immediately, it is available without a prescription at many pharmacies. Insurance (including Medicaid) will often cover the cost.
I can’t get to you during the times you are open. Can you meet me somewhere to exchange?
No. We cannot meet you outside our designated hours of operation for private exchanges.
Do I have to be an Ohio resident to use your services?
Everyone can use our services regardless of residency. You do not need to be an Ohio resident.
Can I exchange for someone else or for a group of people?
Yes. We often have people exchanging multiple syringes for others. However, if you know people that could use our services, we encourage them to sign up as well, even if you are doing the majority of the exchanging.
Is this program legal?
Yes. Our program is legal. Ohio House Bill 92 legalized syringe service programs across Ohio.
Are the police waiting around the corner to bust me when I leave?
We have never had reports of police officers waiting around the corner to arrest or harass our clients. Police who have been near our site investigating unrelated matters have never bothered our clients.
In fact, many police officers tell us they understand the importance of our program. The Cincinnati Police Department has shown a great deal of support. However, you should still drive safely and obey all traffic laws.
We ask that our clients not engage in any behavior near our sites that may cause the surrounding neighbors to complain to the police. This includes not only buying, selling, or using drugs near the site, but also throwing any kind of trash on the ground. We have a trash can available, so please do not litter.
Do you provide HIV/Hep C testing?
We currently offer free and rapid HIV and/or Hepatitis C testing on a weekly basis. Our current monthly schedule is as follows:
1st Thursday of the month, testing by Caracole Inc, in our Walnut Hills location
2nd Monday of the month, testing by Caracole Inc, in our Northside location
2nd Thursday of the month, testing by Equitas Health in our Middletown location
3rd Wednesday of the month, testing by Caracole Inc., in our Mt. Auburn location
3rd Thursday of the month, testing by Equitas Health in our Middletown location
4th Thursday of the month, testing by Caracole Inc., in our Middletown location
If you test positive for either disease, we will provide referral information to help you find affordable care. When exchanging syringes, you can talk to health educators about any concerns including how to reduce the risk of infection and collapsed veins.
If you have questions on safer injection, vein care, hepatitis C or other random subjects, trained staff and professionals are on site to help answer any questions. There is no question too big or small, so please ask. Our program is built to be safe for you. We want you to know you are wanted and respected.
Participants also receive education on safer sex, safer injection use, and where to get drug treatment and medical care. If you decide you would like to get treatment, please ask our health educators. Referrals to treatment centers are available at any time.
Is it true that you can give yourself Hepatitis C?
No. Hepatitis C is a virus that must spread through blood-to-blood contact. The blood of someone who has Hepatitis C must enter your bloodstream in order to contract the virus. Hepatitis C is not only passed through sharing needles, but can also spread through sharing equipment such as cookers, spoons, cottons, filters, and rinses.