Syringe Services Program

What are Syringe Services Programs (SSPs)?

Syringe services programs (SSPs) are community-based prevention programs that provide a range of services. These services include:

  • Links to substance use disorder treatment
  • Access to and disposal of sterile syringes and injection equipment
  • Vaccination
  • Testing
  • Links to care and treatment for infectious diseases

SSPs protect the public and first responders by providing safe disposal of used needles and syringes. SSPs also prevent outbreaks of other diseases by providing:

  • Testing
  • Counseling
  • Sterile injection supplies

SSP Program Oversight

The Georgia Syringe Service Program verifies that legal criteria are met before any service commences, ensures ongoing compliance post-certification, and offers technical support to SSPs as necessary. Nevertheless, local syringe service programs operate independently of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Types of SSPs in Georgia

  • Fixed Site Exchange

    This syringe exchange operates within in an approved commercial, non-residential facility. Such facility types include storefronts, business offices, or other similar spaces.



    • Shelters from street-based activities; provides safe space.
    • Room for other services such as medical care, referrals, or psychosocial.
    • Out of view of residents and businesses.
    • Privacy for participants.
    • Requires travel from participants.
    • Limited hours of operation.
    • Greater overhead.
  • Mobile/Street based Exchange

    This syringe exchange is conducted through a staffed vehicle, usually a van or RV, that travels to approved exchange sites to provide services.



    • Flexibility if the need to provide services changes.
    • Improves community relations since it’s not a permanent fixture.
    • Informal and minimal barriers for clients.
    • Improves access for individuals without transportation. 
    • Difficulty delivering ancillary services.
    • Van involves higher overhead because of insurance, upkeep, driver, etc.


  • Peer-based Exchange

    This syringe exchange enables participants to arrange delivery of services, which can be done in their home or at another agreed upon site. Appointments can occur on a regular schedule or be arranged over the phone.



    • Safer for participants.
    • Peers may provide education.
    • Increases access for socially isolated injectors.
    • Driving may increase overhead.
    • Difficult to offer wrap-around services (testing, wound care, referrals, etc.)
  • Integrated Syringe Exchange

    This exchange is implemented when an organization expands their current harm reduction services to include a syringe services program.



    • Pre-existing organizational infrastructure and client base.
    • Offers a variety of service delivery methods.  
    • May offset operational and human resource costs.
    • Staff may be resistant to new programs.
    • Cost of training and supervision of peers.
    • Possible conflicting identities as peer worker and IDU community member.


SSP Application and Certification Process

Georgia allows for the legal establishment of syringe service programs (also known as syringe exchange program, syringe access programs, drug user health hubs, hypodermic syringe, and needle exchange programs). Any governmental or nongovernmental organization that promotes scientifically proven ways of mitigating health risks associated with drug use and other high-risk behaviors can start a syringe service program (SSPs).

Examples of this may include drug users’ unions, overdose prevention programs, federally qualified peer-based organizations servicing justice, communities, health departments, homeless service organizations, behavioral health care groups, and EMS.

SSPs in Georgia are required to provide the following services:

  • Safe syringe and needle disposal
  • Distribution of sterile syringes and new injection supplies at no-cost and in sufficient quantities to prevent sharing or reusing
  • Aggregated data for the purpose of resource placement
  • Security plans addressing site, personnel and equipment security distributed to police and/or sheriff’s departments with jurisdiction over SSP locations
  • Education materials concerning:
    • Prevention of disease transmission, overdose, and substance use disorder
  • Treatment options and referrals for:
    • Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)
    • Naloxone distribution and training
    • Consultations to mental health or substance use disorder (SUD) treatment

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s Opioid and Substance Misuse is responsible for Georgia Syringe Service Program’s support and oversight. The Georgia Syringe Service Program certifies legal requirements are satisfied before any program begins providing services, ensures programs remain compliant once certified, and provides technical assistance to programs as needed. This ensures programs meet the requirements above and understand the limited immunity provision, and to facilitate connection between programs and existing services.

To begin the application, all applicants must create a Knack account. This will allow applicants to save their application periodically, receive notifications from the Georgia SSP, and meet routine data collection requirements.



For complaints, or other locally related questions, please contact the Syringe Services Program Support Team.

Phone Number: 404-463-1517  |  Email: [email protected]