NASEN will only collaborate with researchers that adhere to the following criteria:
1) the research must contribute to and further the discourse regarding syringe exchange and Harm Reduction;
and 2) there must be a tangible benefit (i.e., compensation) provided to the individual(s) and/or the organizations that participate in the research.
NASEN does not require participation in research as a condition of Buyers Club membership or for listing on the NASEN SSP Directory. Participation is entirely voluntary.
Pictured from left to right first row: Dave Purchase, Rod Sorge, Dan Bigg, Stephanie Comer, Sara Kershnar, Charles Collins, Jon Paul Hammond second row: facilitator, Pat Garrett, Ricky Bluthenthal, Renee Edgington, Edith Springer, Joyce Rivera, Lisa Moore third row: Scott Stokes, George Clark, Delia Garcia, Heather Edney, Mark Gerse, Kevin Zeese, Gerald Lenoir
Project NEXUS is a survey of people who use drugs at 6 syringe services programs across the U.S. The aim of this survey is to learn more about the health, substance use behaviors, HIV/HCV prevalence, and access to and use of prevention services among people who use drugs – especially in non-urban areas of the country that are not typically included in large surveys. SSPs will be randomly selected and invited to participate. Project sites will enroll up to 300 participants in a 30-minute survey with HIV and HCV testing. SSPs will be financially supported to implement the survey, and all participants will receive an incentive for completing the survey and HIV/HCV testing.
Organized syringe service in the US began when Dave Purchase set a TV dinner table on a street in Tacoma, WA in 1988. The number of programs grew rapidly over the next several years and NASEN was founded in 1992. NASEN began holding an annual conference for information exchange and mutual support by programs. The plenary talk at these initial conferences was entitled “syringe exchange in the known universe,” and provided information on SEP activities in the US and both national and international research on SEPs.
With the continuing growth of SEPs in the US, it became clear that a formal mechanism for collecting information about SEPs in the country was needed to inform the SEP community, public health departments, and the US government. In 1994, NASEN and the Chemical Dependency research unit of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City initiated the first annual National Syringe Exchange Survey with funding from amFAR.
The survey has provided information on the numbers of syringe service programs, their organizational characteristics, the numbers of syringes distributed and other services provided by the programs. The information has been used to inform the public and public officials of the critical importance of the programs, and to obtain funding for the programs. One important function of the annual surveys has been to document the evolution of the programs into multi-service organizations that address the many health and social service needs of people who use drugs in the US.
The National Syringe Exchange Survey was renamed as the Dave Purchase Memorial Survey after Dave’s passing.
The opioid epidemic, the overdose epidemic, COVID-19 pandemic, and increasing federal support for drug user health have created new challenges and opportunities for SSPs in the US. The Dave Purchase Memorial Survey will continue to collect, analyze and provide information to the SSP community and to public health officials during these interesting times.
Don Des Jarlais