Syringe Services Program

Watch a short video that highlights the services provided at Whatcom County Syringe Services Program and how the needle exchange program impacts lives.
​Whatcom County Syringe Services Program
​Credits: Fredrick Dent Films, June 2017

Diseases like HIV or hepatitis C can be spread when people who use injection drugs share needles or other equipment. At our weekly clinics, we provide new, sterile syringes and equipment to people who use injection drugs and provide connections to substance use treatment, disease testing, vaccines, and other social services.

  • Syringe exchange programs like ours are one part of a comprehensive set of programs that reduce the spread of blood-borne infections like HIV without increasing substance use.
  • We dispose of used equipment safely so that it doesn’t end up as litter on sidewalks, or in parks, bus stops, trails, or yards.
  • Preventing infections for people who use injection drugs is safer and costs less than treating people who become sick. Prevention also protects family members, partners, and newborn children of people who use injection drugs.

About the Syringe Services Program

Established in 1999, Whatcom County’s Syringe Service Program is operated by public health nurses at our 1500 North State Street location and provides on-site STD, hepatitis C, and HIV testing. Our nurses work with volunteers and staff from local treatment agencies to meet individuals where they are, providing access to counseling, testing, medical care, and referrals to substance use treatment or housing services.

The Whatcom County Health Department offers the confidential exchange of new, sterile syringes and clean injection equipment in exchange for contaminated syringes.

Syringe Services Clinic Hours

We are currently providing syringe services two afternoons per week in the parking lot of our 1500 North State Street location due to pandemic-related building closures. Syringe services are available on: 

  • Mondays from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (Except Holidays)
  • Thursdays from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (Except Holidays) 

Services We Provide:

  • Sterile injecting supplies
  • Safe syringe disposal
  • Naloxone education and distribution
  • HIV testing and follow-up
  • Hepatitis C testing and follow-up
  • STD testing and treatment (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) and prevention services
  • Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccinations
  • Other vaccines as available
  • Wound surveillance
  • Education on reducing harms associated with drug use

How Can I Help?

If you know someone who is injecting drugs, your support can help them stay safe and recover from addiction.

  • Visit Whatcom Has Hope to learn more about Whatcom Has Hope, a local resource for opioid education.
  • Encourage them to get clean syringes from our Syringe Services clinics.
  • Carry naloxone with you. Naloxone is a drug that can reverse an overdose. Anyone in Washington State who is at risk of experiencing an overdose or who spends time with someone who could overdose can get and carry naloxone. Attend the free naloxone training session at one of our clinics on Mondays or Thursdays to learn more.
  • Learn more about Substance Use Disorder and Harm Reduction.
  • Use language that respects the worth and dignity of all people. The words you use can impact how people think about themselves and their ability to change.
  • Call SAMHSA’s 24/7 National Helpline: 1800-662-HELP. The helpline provides confidential treatment referrals and information in English and Spanish for individuals and families facing substance use disorder.

Additional Resources

For People Who Use Drugs

About Syringe Services Programs

About Risks & Prevention of Injection Drug Use