Advisory to EMS Agencies Regarding the Expanded Syringe Access Demonstration Project (ESAP)

Issued April 5, 2001

TO: All NYS EMS Agencies

FROM: Bureau of EMS

On January 1, 2001 A law went into effect allowing licensed pharmacies, health care practitioners and health care facilities to furnish or sell up to ten hypodermic needles and syringes to persons 18 years of age or older without a prescription.

The intent of this legislation was to decrease the spread of communicable diseases by providing access to sterile needles and syringes for injection drug users.

This new law does not contain any provision for EMS agencies either providing or collecting needles or syringes. However, providers should be aware that there are subjects in their communities who may be seeking a place to acquire or dispose of needles and syringes.

If your agency gets an inquiry regarding the availability of needles or syringes under this program, advise the person that EMS agencies are not permitted to participate and refer them to a local hospital or pharmacy that might be participating. The Department of Health is currently developing a directory of participating locations.

Should an individual inquire about disposing of needles and /or syringes direct them to a local hospital. All hospitals in New York State are required by law to develop an operational plan to accept household sharps for disposal.

For further information regarding the ESAP contact Deborah Dewey of the AIDS institute at 518-486-1009 or Delton Courtney of the Office of Health Systems Management at 518-402-1004.