Peer Delivered Syringe Services Toolkit
About the Authors
We are a group of people who work at syringe service programs (SSPs) in New York City. We all have experience in either starting or running peer-delivered syringe services (PDSS) programs. We came together to share our knowledge and experience, both to improve our own programs and to respond to requests from other programs looking to initiate PDSSs. We shared best practices and brainstormed with peers, coordinators, and new program staff to get their input and feedback.
What is Peer-Delivered Syringe Service?
Acknowledging that SSPs do not currently reach all people who use drugs (PWUD) due to a myriad of factors, peer-delivered syringe services were initiated to try and reach more PWUD. Through their social networks, peers are able to reach people using drugs in need of syringes or other SSP services in ways that traditional SSPs are unable to. Peers are uniquely positioned to provide resources to harder-to-reach PWUD communities and to provide them with free, sterile syringes, prevention education, and linkage to SSP services.
The PDSS model recognizes the value of peers as service providers and leaders in their own communities and offers a unique opportunity to connect an underserved population with supportive services.
Purposes and Uses of this Toolkit
This toolkit is intended to provide examples of policies and practices from current PDSS programs so new and existing programs can think about and incorporate the parts that work for them. it gives an overview of points to consider in starting a PDSS program and is intended to generate new ideas for revising and improving existing PDSS programs. each section contains insight and ideas drawn from the experience of various programs and ends with Questions to Consider based on your own program’s
needs. Throughout the toolkit, we’ve included quotes from peers currently working at PDSS programs about their experiences and ideas.
While formal PDSS may be new, the practice of users engaging and informing fellow users in healthy practice is not. We hope that formal PDSS can harness this history and can continue to improve the health of people who use drugs.