Syringe Services Program (SSP) Overview
We are an anonymous syringe services program (SSP) located in Allen County, Indiana, grounded in harm reduction and evidence-based principles. The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health alongside Positive Resource Connection and Park Center operate the SSP.
Hours & Location:
The Allen County Syringe Services Program (SSP) is open every TUESDAY ONLY from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. (Additional hours and/or location(s) may be added in the future)
Our address is:
519 Oxford Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46803
Services offered at the SSP
- FREE Needle Exchange (used needles can be exchanged for clean needles & other supplies)
Other services offered at the SSP include:
- FREE Confidential Addiction Services Counseling
- FREE Wound Care
- FREE Confidential HIV & Hepatitis C Testing
Click on the (+) sign to access Allen County Syringe Services Program (SSP) Frequently Asked Questions
In response to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) approval of the Allen County Syringe Services Program (SSP) on October 6, 2016, we have compiled this list of frequently asked questions to aid in a better understanding of what occurs and services offered at the Allen County SSP.
What services are offered at the Allen County Syringe Services Program (SSP)?
- Dirty needles can be exchanged for clean needles and other supplies
- Testing for and education on HIV, Hepatitis C and TB
- Addiction services & Mental health services
What does SSP stand for?
Syringe Services Program
When is the SSP open?
Beginning November 1, 2016, the Allen County SSP will be open Tuesdays from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Where is the SSP located?
519 Oxford Street, Fort Wayne, IN
Is there an age limit for those who can receive services?
Only people 18 and older will be allowed to receive services at the SSP
What is the main goal for the SSP?
To prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C in our community by educating on these issues and ensuring use of clean needles and supplies, which is how these viruses are spread.
Do I have to bring an ID with me to the SSP?
Are there costs for any of the services at the SSP?
Can people who live outside of Allen County receive services at the Allen County SSP?
What if I need services but cannot make it to the SSP during the hours it is open?
While the hours may increase if people are using the services, at this time services will be provided only during designated hours and the designated SSP location.
How many clean needles can I get?
The goal is to provide a 1:1 exchange of dirty needles for clean needles. However, it is possible to receive up to 3 clean needles for each dirty needle exchanged.
Do I have to bring dirty needles with me to get clean needles at the SSP?
For the most part, yes. For the first visit to the SSP ONLY, it is possible some clean needles may be provided even if dirty needles are not exchanged.
Do I need to put my dirty needles in a special container before I bring them in to the SSP?
Yes. If you don’t have a sharps container, please put your dirty needles in a coffee can or laundry detergent bottle and bring it to the SSP.
Can I get naloxone (also known as Narcan) at the SSP?
Not at this time, but we are hopeful this will be an option in the future.
How much time will it take once I get to the SSP for me to be helped?
The SSP will operate on a first come, first served basis. Depending on which services you are interested in, it will likely take between just 15-30 minutes or so.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment. So once you get HIV, you have it for life. HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system fight off infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body, making the person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. These opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS, the last stage of HIV infection. No effective cure currently exists, but with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART. If taken the right way, every day, this medicine can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV, keep them healthy, and greatly lower their chance of infecting others. Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can live nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV.
What if I am not sharing needles but sharing cookers, cotton balls, etc – could I still potentially get HIV?
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for 70%–85% of people who become infected with Hepatitis C, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, even death. The majority of infected persons might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs.
What if I am not sharing needles but sharing cookers, cotton balls, etc – could I still potentially get Hepatitis C?
Can I bring someone who has overdosed to the SSP for help instead of calling 911 for help?
No, please call 911.
Will police be inside the SSP?
Security will be present for staff & client safety only.
Could I be arrested if I am seen going to the SSP?
We are hopeful that will not occur. Law Enforcement is aware of this site and service and are supportive of it. Therefore, we do not foresee any repercussions occurring to participants.
Does the SSP promote drug use?
No. The sole goal of the SSP is to lessen the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV by promoting clean needle/supply use. We do hope, though, to provide referrals and on-site assistance for anyone seeking it should they want to make a change in their life style. Furthermore, studies have shown over the 20 years of operation throughout the world, SSPs do not increase drug usage in communities in which they are established.
Do SSP’s increase violence in communities?
There are no studies indicating this at all.
What organizations are operating this SSP?
The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health in partnership with the Positive Resource Connection. Park Center will have an addictions specialist onsite as well as needed.
Is 519 Oxford the only location of the SSP? Are there other locations?
Currently, yes. No other locations will be available at this time.
Why did the Health Department choose 519 Oxford Street for the SSP? Isn’t the drug problem an issue in the entire community?
The Positive Resources Connection site is already a trusted site for STD testing and related services. They offered use of the site to the Department of Health in support of their disease reduction efforts. We feel it is a safe and trusted site for the success of this program.
Are guns, knives or other weapons permitted inside the SSP?
Are drugs allowed inside the SSP?
Does the SSP have a phone number or email address?
Not at this time.
What if I need to get rid of dirty needles when the SSP is closed – what should I do?
Put them in a coffee can or laundry detergent bottle and seal securely with duct tape. Then place in the normal trash.
Are news media reporters allowed inside the SSP to do news stories?
No. Members of the media won’t be permitted inside the SSP during operational hours.
Have a question for us?
You can submit questions to the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health via the Question Portal. Click here to submit a question. Questions will be answered during business hours and as quickly as possible.