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Bienestar - Syringe Exchange
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Syringe Exchange

Syringe Exchange

BIENESTAR began its first Needle Exchange Program in 1997, and since it has become one of the largest needle exchange programs in the City of Los Angeles in terms of clients served, sites, and hours of operation.  Due to BIENESTAR’s reputation and ability to provide holistic services to our clients, the program has consistently been able to increase the number of new clients.  Current services include: exchange of contaminated needles, distribution of needle cleaning “safer shooting” kits, safer sex supplies, health education materials, on-site case management, HIV Counseling and Testing, Hepatitis screening referrals, medical care referrals, and referrals for drug detoxification and treatment. 

 

Currently, BIENESTAR’s services are offered five days a week at street-based sites.  A mobile van allows BIENESTAR Harm Reduction staff to travel to various street locations as well as methadone clinics to deliver these services.   BIENESTAR recently opened a storefront location at our East Los Angeles Center, where we also provide wound and abscess care and rapid HIV testing.

 

Schedule of Street-Based Syringe Exchanges:

 

Day

Location

Community

Time

Monday

Harry Bridges & Avalon

Arroyo Glen & Ave 64

Wilmington

Highland Park

10am – 11:30am

3:30pm – 5pm

Tuesday

BIENESTAR SLA

South LA

9am – 11am

Wednesday

Fickett & Mathews

Boyle Heights

1:30pm – 3:30pm

Thursday

Alhambra & Johnston St

Lincoln Heights

3pm – 4:30pm

Friday

Fickett & Mathews

Boyle Heights

10:30am – 12:30pm

 

Additionally, BIENESTAR has a syringe exchange at the East Los Angeles Center, 5326 East Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90022.  It is open Monday through Friday, 11am to 5pm.  For more information on the Syringe Exchange Program, contact Gavino Hernandez, Harm Reduction Program Coordinator at (323) 727-7896 or ghernandez@bienestar.org

 

Background on Harm Reduction and Syringe Exchange

 

Syringe Exchange is a Harm Reduction Program that aims to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, and other drug related harms, including blood borne pathogens and abscesses and wounds.  At syringe exchanges, intravenous drug users can exchange used syringes for sterile new ones and receive life saving supplies.  As with any harm reduction program, the primary goal of the syringe exchange is to meet people where they are at and support them as they make positive changes in their lives. 

 

According to a United States Surgeon General study, syringe exchange programs are an effective public health intervention strategy that reduces the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis.  Syringe exchange programs do not encourage the use of illegal drugs, but seek to prevent the harm caused by unsafe drug use.  In addition, several studies conclude that there is little evidence to support an increase in drug-related crime as a result of syringe exchange programs.

 

For additional information please contact Lori Mizuno, Director of Substance Abuse & Harm Reduction at (323) 727-7896 or lmizuno@bienestar.org

Funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), the State of California, Department of Health Services, Office of AIDS and the County of Los Angeles, Department of Health Services, Office of AIDS Programs and Policy (OAPP).