General Update on the Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP)

In May 2000, the New York State Legislature enacted Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2000 creating the Expanded Syringe Access Demonstration Program (ESAP). Since the program became permanent in the summer of 2009, it is now known as the Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP). The purpose of this program is to reduce the transmission of blood borne diseases, including HIV and hepatitis, by enhancing access to sterile syringes to avoid re-use, etc.. Under this program, up to ten syringes may be sold or furnished to a person 18 years of age or older without a prescription by pharmacists, health care facilities, and health care practitioners who have registered with the New York State Department of Health.

As of August 2021, 3,027 providers have registered with ESAP to sell and/or furnish syringes; 96.1% (2,909) of which are pharmacies, 2% (60) health care facilities, and1.9% (58) are health care practitioners. 

The other component of ESAP is the promotion of safe sharps disposal. In New York State, all hospitals and nursing homes are required by law to accept household sharps, but not all are convenient to customers. Pharmacies, clinics and health care practitioners that wish to accept household sharps for safe disposal must register separately with the NYS Safe Sharps Collection Program (NYSSSCP).

As of 2019, ESAP successfully installed over 300 syringe disposal sites throughout New York State. Ninety collection sites reported a collection total of nearly 15,000 pounds of syringe waste. The amount of collected syringe waste is exponentially increasing.

A listing of registered ESAP providers by county, as well as sharps collection sites, is available at the NYS Department of Health website. The website provides ESAP-related materials including an overview of the law and regulations, information on ESAP for providers and consumers, guidelines to sell or furnish syringes without prescription, guidelines for health care facilities, and the application to register for ESAP. It also contains information on how to dispose of household sharps properly, the application for sites interested in accepting syringes for disposal outside a health care setting, and additional resources.

For updates and learn more about how to participate in ESAP, contact: Clara De Sanctis, MPH, ESAP Coordinator, or