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San Francisco Health Network
Syringe Access and Disposal Programs in SF
picking up syringe from gutter

Anthony Jicory goes the extra mile to get any needles he can reach

image2

Whit Bastian, co-leader of SFAF needle pickup team

3 members of SF AIDS Foundation working

Anthony Jicory, Whit Bastian and Joe Hollendoner of SF AIDS Foundation working to help keep SF safe and clean

cleaning up needles

SF AIDS Foundation crew member Anthony Jicory cleans up needles and offers supplies including narcan and sharps containers

cleaning up needles

Lee Duncan loves his work and says this is the best job he's ever had

 

SF Teams are working together to get needles off the streets

 

What is SF doing to control and clean up the needles on the streets?

The Health Department is committed to cleaner streets in San Francisco. This is an environmental health issue that affects everyone in the city, and it is a problem for cities all over the world. For the last five years we have made extra efforts to improve the pickup of needle litter. Here’s what we’re have in place to reduce the number of needles on the streets:

  • A ten (10) person Clean-up crew funded by SFDPH and operated through SF AIDS Foundation operates 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. They are mobile and are reachable by text at (415) 810-1337. They also work collaboratively with organizations including San Francisco Drug User’s Union, Homeless Youth Alliance, St. James Infirmary, Glide Harm Reduction Services to expand needle cleanup. Community members can participate in volunteer clean-up events every Friday from 12-2 pm at 117 6th street.
  • A five (5) member Community Health Response Team works across SF to properly dispose needles, offer Narcan and engage with the community to offer resources and referrals to care including treatment.
  • The Healthy Streets Operation Center is a coordinated citywide effort to address concerns about homelessness and street behaviors and includes 311, Public Works, Public Health, Homeless and Supportive Housing, Police, and Emergency Management working together to address complaints related to homelessness and street issues.
  • The City’s Fix It Team, Downtown Streets, Community Benefits districts, and other City & community agencies address community concerns and conduct syringe clean up.
  • The Health Department funds a collaborative of community-based syringe access and disposal programs. There are 13 sites that operate throughout the City. Each site provides an opportunity for disposal.
  • There are 17 outdoor sharps containers for disposal located throughout the city.

 

Why Syringe Access?
  • Syringe access is a public health intervention that is a global best practice to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C. It saves lives, makes the community healthier, and is supported by the California Health Department, and the Centers for Disease Control.
  • The city of San Francisco has been providing syringe access since 1993. Data indicates that our early adoption of syringe access has contributed to the low level of HIV among San Franciscans who inject drugs.
  • The Health Department continues to provide programs and care to help people who inject drugs to be as healthy as possible. This in turn protects the health of our community.
  • We practice harm reduction and disease prevention strategies such as syringe access, naloxone (Narcan) to reverse overdoses, and fentanyl testing. We also provide treatment on demand with same-day methadone, increased access to buprenorphine and a wide array of substance use services to help people with addiction to recover, and reduce their use of needles.

 

How does syringe access benefit the community?
  • Research including studies from the CDC shows that syringe access programs improve public safety. Providing sterile needles and syringes and establishing appropriate disposal procedures substantially reduces the chances that people will share injection equipment and removes potentially HIV- and HCV-contaminated syringes from the community.

 

What do I do if I see needles on the street?
  • If you see syringes on the street please call 311. Using 311 helps the city track the number of needles picked up and allows us to deploy the right teams to the area.

  • You can also text 415-810-1337

 

Needle Disposal Map
Needle Disposal Map

 

Team Photos
SFAF Needle Pickup Team SFAF Morning Crew
SFAF needle pickup team web (L to R)
Rob Hoffman, Anthony Jicory, Lee Duncan, Jennifer Jeffries, Robert Posey, Leaette Sullivan, and Mayia Ogbebor
SFAF Morning Crew
SFAF picks up needles SFAF picks up needles
SFAF CEO Joe Hollendoner picks up needles while Whit Bastian counts the needles on their pick up app Lee Duncan and SFAF CEO Joe Hollendoner