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Syringe Exchange Program



Syringe exchange is a public health intervention which is proven to reduce the transmission of bloodborne pathogens like HIV and hepatitis C in the community. Syringe exchange programs work by providing people who cannot or will not stop injecting illegal drugs with new syringes and a place to safely dispose of used syringes. In addition, syringe exchange programs serve as a point of access to health education and other physical and mental health services. They provide a wide range of services in addition to syringe exchange and disposal.  These services include HIV and hepatitis C testing, overdose prevention training, free naloxone distribution, and referrals to drug treatment, housing, and mental health services. They also provide first aid and basic supplies.

Monterey County Board of Supervisors authorized the first syringe exchange programs in 1994. Syringe exchanges programs have been operating in Monterey County nearly continuously since then. California Health and Safety Code Section 11364.7 (a) guarantees freedom from criminal prosecution for public entities and their agents or employees who distribute syringes or syringes during a lawfully authorized syringe exchange project/program.

As of January 2017, Access Support Network operates a syringe exchange program in Monterey County authorized by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.  Please see below for service locations and dates.  

Monterey County Syringe Exchange Schedule



15 Soledad Street, Salinas, CA  93901

Mondays and Fridays 2:00pm - 4:00pm*

*Syringe Exchange will be closed on the following 2019 holidays:

  • 2/18/2019 Presidents' Day
  • 5/27/2019 Memorial Day
  • 9/2/2019 Labor Day
  • 10/14/2019 Columbus Day
  • 11/11/2019 Veterans' Day
  • 11/29/2019 Thanksgiving

Syringe Exchange Utilization Data

Monterey County Health Department provides information on syringe exchange utilization to inform stakeholders and the public of syringe exchange activities in Monterey County.  Questions about syringe exchange utilization data can be directed to Access Support Network at 831-975-5016 or to Kristy Michie, Monterey County Health Department, at 831-755-4503.

Utilization Category
January - March (Q1) 2018
 Total Number of Syringes Distributed
 50,892  16,958
 Total Number of Syringes Collected
 50,899  16,958
 Total Number of Individuals Served
 3,048  808
 Gender of Individuals Served
 67%  71%
 32%  29%
 1%  0%
Race & Ethnicity of Individuals Served
 Asian, Non-Hispanic
 1%  0%
 Black or African-American, Non-          Hispanic
 9%  14%
 Hispanic, Any Race
 42%  50%
 White, Non-Hispanic
 34%  27%
 Other and Multi-Racial, Non-Hispanic
 15%  9%
 Geographic Region of Residence
 Monterey Peninsula & Big Sur
 3%  19%
 North County
 4%  5%
 Salinas Area
 90%  76%
 South County
 3%  0%
 Risk Information
 Injection Drug User
 100%  100%
 Friend, Family Member, or Sex Partner
 0%  0%
 Other  0%  0%
 Assistance Referrals
 Substance Abuse Treatment
 Not Collected
 HIV and/or Hepatitis C Testing
 Not Collected
 Naloxone and Overdose Education
 Not Collected
 Primary Care or Wound Care
 Not Collected
 Housing Services
 Not Collected
 Food Bank and Food Assistance
 Not Collected
 Other  Not Collected

Nonprescription Syringe Sales

Beginning January 1, 2015, new legislation removes prior limits on the number of syringes pharmacies may sell without a prescription. Many pharmacists are unaware of the current law that allows pharmacies to sell syringes without a prescription or are unclear on what the law allows and requires. While the law allows pharmacies to sell syringes without a prescription, it does not require that pharmacies sell syringes without a prescription.  Please check with your pharmacy to determine their policy.

For more information, review the Office of AIDS Pharmacist Fact Sheet released December 2014.

Additional materials and resources are available on the Office of AIDS syringe access website.

If you have questions please contact Kristy Michie, Program Manager, at michiekj@co.monterey.ca.us or 831-755-4503.

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