Syringe Service Alliance of the Nashua Area
SSANA (Syringe Service Alliance of the Nashua Area) is a syringe services program (SSPs) that services the Greater Nashua Public Health Region (GNPHR). It is a community-based public health program that provides comprehensive harm reduction services, benefiting its communities served through the reduction of:
1. New HIV and viral hepatitis infections by decreasing the sharing of syringes and other injection equipment.
2. Drug use and increase entry into Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment.
3. Needle-stick injuries among first responders and the public.
4. Overdose deaths by teaching people who inject drugs how to prevent and respond to drug overdose.
Determination of Need for Syringe Services Programs
SSPs are allowable in New Hampshire based on the passage of SB 234 (Laws of 2017, Chapter 117) on June 16, 2017. In order to receive funding for a SSP, health departments must first
consult with CDC and provide evidence that their jurisdiction is
experiencing or at risk for significant increases in hepatitis
infections or an HIV outbreak due to injection drug use.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) impacts the body's immune system, and therefore the body's ability to fight infection. The weakening of the body's immune system due to HIV can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
HIV is transmitted through certain body fluids from an infected person (blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk). HIV is spread mainly through having sex or sharing needles/syringes with an infected person.
According to the New Hampshire STD/HIV Surveillance Program's 2014-2018 5-Year Summary Report, the number of people per year newly diagnosed with HIV and AIDS has remained relatively stable over the past five years. However, there were increases noted in 2017-2018 in the proportion of new cases that reported any injection drug use and the proportion of people that identified injection drug use are their primary risk of HIV/AIDS.
Hepatitis C is a virus (HCV) that causes liver damage. HCV is transmitted through blood and blood products from an infected person. HCV is spread mainly though sharing needles/syringes during substance use.
As of November 2016, hepatitis C was added to the list of infectious diseases on the NH Reportable Disease List.
Harm Reduction Model
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies used to reduce negative consequences of drug use and sexual risk through evidence-based interventions. The harm reduction model incorporates a spectrum of strategies including safer techniques, managed use, and abstinence. The goal of of any harm reduction program, including SSANA, is to elicit any positive change based on individual client need, circumstance, and readiness to change. This model works to meet people “where they are at”, but does not leave them there.
SSANA is a collection of community partners that have come together to support the GNPHR. Our diverse team is composed of outreach workers, volunteers, personnel from a variety of public health and community-based organizations, health educators, and people with lived experience of substance use disorders and recovery.