Syringe Services Program

Diseases like HIV or hepatitis C can be spread when people who use injection drugs share needles or other equipment. At our syringe clinics we provide new, sterile needles and equipment to people who use injection drugs and provide connections to drug treatment, disease testing, vaccines, and other social services.

  • Syringe exchange programs like ours are one part of a comprehensive set of programs that reduce the spread of blood-borne infections like HIV without increasing drug use.
  • We dispose of used equipment safely so that it doesn’t end up as litter on sidewalks, or in parks, bus stops, trails, or yards.
  • Preventing infections for people who use injection drugs is safer and costs less than treating people who become sick. Prevention also protects family members, partners, and newborn children of people who use injection drugs.
  • Our nurses work with volunteers and staff from local treatment agencies to provide counseling, testing, medical care, and referrals to drug treatment or other services that help support people toward recovery.

Naloxone (Narcan) Education and Distribution Event

For International Overdose Awareness Day, the Whatcom County Health Department Harm Reduction Program will host a naloxone (Narcan) education and distribution event on Wednesday, August 31. The event will take place at Lee Memorial Park, the grassy lawn behind the Bellingham Public Library, from 1p.m. to 7p.m. 

This event is for Anyone age 18 and up. Attendees may receive a free nasal Narcan kit and education on Narcan administration while supplies last. This even is an opportunity to learn more about how to identify and respond to an overdose, how to use nasal naloxone, Good Samaritan laws and more. Attendees can stop by anytime during the event. 

About the Syringe Services Program

Established in 1999, Whatcom County’s Syringe Service Program is operated by public health nurses at our 1500 North State Street location and provides on-site STD, hepatitis C, and HIV testing. Our nurses work with volunteers and staff from local treatment agencies to meet individuals where they are, providing access to counseling, testing, medical care, and referrals to substance use treatment or housing services.

The Whatcom County Health Department offers the confidential exchange of new, sterile syringes and clean injection equipment in exchange for contaminated syringes.

Syringe Services Clinic Hours

We provide syringe services clinics every Monday and Thursday (except holidays) at the Whatcom County Health Department State Street location (1500 N State St, Bellingham, WA) from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

We also have a mobile clinic in Maple Falls. This mobile clinic provides syringe services every Monday (except holidays) at the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center (8251 Kendall Rd., Maple Falls, WA) from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the parking lot.

Services We Provide:

  • Sterile injecting supplies.
  • Safe syringe disposal.
  • Naloxone education and distribution.
  • HIV testing and follow-up.
  • Hepatitis C testing and follow-up.
  • STD testing and treatment (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) and prevention services.
  • Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccinations.
  • Other vaccines as available.
  • Wound surveillance.
  • Education on reducing harms associated with drug use.

How Can I Help?

Watch a short video that highlights the services provided at Whatcom County Syringe Services Program and how the needle exchange program impacts lives.
Whatcom County Syringe Services Program
Credits: Fredrick Dent Films, June 2017

If you know someone who is injecting drugs, your support can help them stay safe and recover from addiction.

  • Encourage them to get clean syringes from our Syringe Services clinics.
  • Carry naloxone with you. Naloxone is a drug that can reverse an overdose. Anyone in Washington State who is at risk of experiencing an overdose or who spends time with someone who could overdose can get and carry naloxone. To learn more about naloxone and its uses, attend one of our Monday or Thursday clinics and request to speak with a public health nurse.
  • Learn more about Substance Use Disorder and Harm Reduction.
  • Use language that respects the worth and dignity of all people. The words you use can impact how people think about themselves and their ability to change.
  • Call SAMHSA’s 24/7 National Helpline: 1800-662-HELP. The helpline provides confidential treatment referrals and information in English and Spanish for individuals and families facing substance use disorder.

Additional Resources

For People Who Use Drugs

About Syringe Services Programs

About Risks & Prevention of Injection Drug Use