A Veteran allowed a friend to use their syringe to add drugs to his own clean syringe last summer. As a result, the Veteran was hospitalized for sepsis, caused by injection drug use and diagnosed with hepatitis C.
The Veteran’s VA Syringe Services Program (SSP) team acted fast to rapidly start him on hepatitis C treatment and to make sure he had clean syringes.
He then enrolled in a substance use domiciliary and hasn’t used drugs for two months. Now, the Veteran is working on obtaining a license to become a truck driver. Mentally and physically, he says he feels better now than in decades.
VA is working on bringing critical harm reduction practices – which are designed to lessen the negative consequences of drug use – to our medical centers.
Harm reduction includes SSPs. These programs, where legally allowed, provide clean syringes and equipment to people who inject drugs. They also provide critical services like infectious disease testing, naloxone prescribing and linkage to mental health services.
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