NEXT: description, rationale, and evaluation of a novel internet-based mail-delivered syringe service program

Benjamin T. Hayes, Jamie Favaro, Czarina N. Behrends, Daniel Coello, Andrea Jakubowski, Aaron D. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Despite proven health benefits, harm reduction services provided through in-person syringe services programs (SSPs) and pharmacies are largely unavailable to most people who inject drugs (PWID). Internet-based mail-delivered harm reduction services could overcome barriers to in-person SSPs. This manuscript describes Needle Exchange Technology (NEXT) Harm Reduction, the first formal internet-based mail delivery SSP in the US. Methods: We examined the trajectory of NEXT’s growth between February 2018 and August 2021. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize program participants. All analysis were run using STATA statistical software. Results: Over the course of 42 months, 1,669 unique participants enrolled in NEXT. The program distributed 1,648,162 total syringes with a median of 79,449 syringes per month. Most participants ordered multiple times (61%); 31% had more 5 or more orders (upper range = 48 orders). The total number of syringes per month and total number of first-time syringe orders per month increased steadily over time, particularly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: The online platform and mail-delivery model appears successful in reaching PWID at high risk for harms from IDU. Changes to state laws and additional funding support are needed to make mail-delivery harm reduction more widely available throughout the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Substance Use
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • harm reduction
  • HCV
  • HIV/AIDS
  • public health services
  • Syringe services program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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