Needle exchange pilot program established at Sawyer

Sep 14, 2018

SAWYER, MI--   Marquette County has opened a Syringe Services Program at Sawyer. 

Based at the Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center, the “New Points” SSP will accept used syringes and distribute sterile ones to people who inject drugs.

Emily Pratt is a health educator with the Marquette County Health Department. She says studies show SSPs do not encourage drug use; rather, they act as links to getting help.

“The goal is to reduce the risk of illness in the community and to link these individuals—the clients that we will be serving—to help link them to medical care, as well as mental health and recovery services, if they’re interested,” she says.

Pratt says Marquette County isn’t exempt from the opioid epidemic, and young adults (18-29 years) are contracting hepatitis C at an alarming rate through intravenous drug use. The Upper Peninsula as a region has the highest hepatitis C rate for young adults in the State of Michigan.

Pratt says the Sawyer SSP will eventually offer free testing for HIV and hepatitis C, along with overdose prevention kits containing Naloxone.

The SSP will be open Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. It will serve anyone in the community on a walk-in basis.

Great Lakes Recovery Centers and the U.P. Health System Family Medicine Residency Program are collaborating in the project.

For more information call 906-372-3040.