Based on a recent study, our team has published an article in the “American Journal of Public Health” titled, “Life after the ban: An assessment of US syringe exchange programs’ attitudes about and early experience with Federal funding.” To access the full text, click here.
We aimed to determine whether syringe exchange programs (SEPs) currently receive or anticipate pursuing federal funding and barriers to funding applications following the recent removal of the long-standing ban on using federal funds for SEPs.
We conducted a telephone-administered cross-sectional survey of US SEPs. Descriptive statistics summarized responses; bivariate analyses examined differences in pursuing funding and experiencing barriers by program characteristics.
Of the 187 SEPs (92.1%) that responded, 90.9% were legally authorized. Three received federal funds and 116 intended to pursue federal funding. Perceived federal funding barriers were common and included availability and accessibility of funds, legal requirements such as written police support, resource capacity to apply and comply with funding regulations, local political and structural organization, and concern around altering program culture. Programs without legal authorization, health department affiliation, large distribution, or comprehensive planning reported more federal funding barriers.
Policy implementation gaps appear to render federal support primarily symbolic. In practice, funding opportunities may not be available to all SEPs. Increased technical assistance and legal reform could improve access to federal funds, especially for SEPs with smaller capacity and tenuous local support.
To obtain the full text, click here.