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 Allen County Department of Health works alongside Positive Resource Connection, Park Center, Clean Slate, Bowen Center and Fort Wayne Recovery to operate the SSP. Brightpoint is also a partner as the on-site health navigator for enrollment in health coverage. Download our SSP flier to share.
Hours & Location:
The Allen County Syringe Services Program (SSP) is open TUESDAYS from 1-3:30 p.m.
4817 New Haven Avenue
Fort Wayne, IN 46803
Take Citilink Bus Route #10
- FREE Needle Exchange (used needles can be exchanged for clean needles & other supplies)
- FREE Confidential Addiction Services Counseling
- FREE Wound Care
- FREE Confidential HIV & Hepatitis C Testing
- Treatment referrals
- Sign up for healthcare coverage
Click Here for 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)?
- Used 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?
The Allen County SSP is typically open Tuesdays from 2-6 p.m. Because of COVID-19, the SSP is providing limited curbside services Tuesdays from 1-3:30p with 1:1 needle exchange and Narcan ONLY.
Where is the SSP located?
4817 New Haven Avenue, Fort Wayne, IN 46803
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?
The main goal is 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?
Services will be provided only during designated hours and the designated SSP location, though hours may change if the numbers of people served continues to increase.
How many clean needles can I get?
The goal is to provide a 1:1 exchange of used needles for clean needles, but it is possible to receive up to 3 clean needles for each used needle exchanged.
Do I have to bring used needles with me to get clean needles at the SSP?
Only first visits to the SSP will receive clean needles if used needles are not exchanged.
Do I need to put my used needles in a special container before I bring them in to the SSP?
Yes, please put your dirty needles in a sharps container or in a coffee can or laundry detergent bottle and bring it to the SSP.
How much time will it take once I get to the SSP for me to be helped?
The SSP operates on a first come, first served basis and usually takes between 15-30 minutes depending on the services received.
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. Most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. 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. Local law enforcement is aware of the site and service and are supportive of it. We do not foresee any repercussions occurring to participants.
Does the SSP promote drug use?
No. The goal of the SSP is to decrease the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV by promoting clean needle/supply use. Studies have shown over the 20 years of operations of syringe exchange programs worldwide, drug usage does NOT increase in communities where they are established. We also work to provide referrals and on-site assistance for anyone seeking to make a change in their lifestyle.
Do SSP’s increase violence in communities?
There are no studies indicating such increases.
What organizations are operating this SSP?
The Allen County Department of Health in partnership with the Positive Resource Connection, Clean Slate, Park Center, Bowen Center and Fort Wayne Recovery operates the SSP.
Is 4817 New Haven Avenue the only location of the SSP? Are there other locations?
Currently, yes. No other locations will be available at this time.
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 used 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.
About the SSP
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) declared a public health emergency for Allen County in 2016, allowing the Allen County Department of Health to establish a syringe services program (SSP) in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C. Click on the links below to access Allen County SSP’s protocol and to view an application packet:
Have a question for us?
You can submit questions to the 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.