NASTAD Press Release

NASTAD Receives Funding to Support Syringe Services Programs

WASHINGTON, DC – NASTAD will embark on a five-year project to increase access to harm reduction services for people who currently inject or have a history of injecting drugs to reduce incidence of infectious diseases and other complications of injection drug use on September 30, 2022. This project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through Component 2 of PS22-2208 Strengthening Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) cooperative agreement. 

NASTAD will directly fund at least 40 SSPs across the country to perform core functions including infectious disease prevention and control, recruitment and retention of culturally informed staff, distribution of safer use supplies, and facilitation of comprehensive social and medical service referrals. NASTAD will offer tailored technical assistance on organizational and fiscal development and comprehensive drug user health services. 

“We are excited to dive into this vitally important and timely work with the CDC, project partners, VOCAL-USA and the University of Washington, and SSPs across the country,” said Dr. Stephen Lee, NASTAD Executive Director. “HIV and viral hepatitis continue to disparately impact people who use drugs, and this is an opportunity to build capacity in the infectious disease workforce by creating and expanding essential health services.” 

SSPs are vital, frontline public health lifelines for people facing health risks, marginalization, and criminalization related to drug use and provide access to, and disposal of, sterile syringes and injection equipment, vaccination, testing for infectious diseases, naloxone distribution, and linkage to infectious disease care and substance use treatment. Component 2 of PS22-2208 will increase support and resources to SSPs for implementation of syringe distribution and disposal; testing, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases and infectious complications from injection drug use; and mitigation of other harms due to drug use. 

For decades, NASTAD has progressively built support and demonstrated the need for, and the impact of, federal resources directed to SSPs. For more than five years, NASTAD has been at the forefront of building support for and recognition of the life-saving role of drug user health and harm reduction programs at the state, local, and national levels through both technical assistance and advocacy, particularly around appropriations and innovative funding strategies. Over the past decade NASTAD has progressively built support and demonstrated the need for, and the impact of, federal resources directed to SSPs. In this nearly unprecedented funding opportunity, NASTAD is honored to be entrusted with this project and excited to see increased resources getting to SSPs. 

“We’re currently seeing a change of tides in terms of federal funding and support for harm reduction,” said Laura Pegram, Director of Drug User Health at NASTAD. “While this is fantastic news, increased resources and ongoing support for these essential, frontline services such as SSPs and community-based harm reduction efforts, will be necessary to effectively reach people who use drugs and prevent incidence of HIV, hepatitis, overdose in our communities.” 

This award provides a notable opportunity to facilitate the creation of effective cross-sector relationships between the public health infectious disease workforce, SSP staff and service providers, and federal agencies, translating community needs to public health officials and ensuring the investment of resources where they are most needed.   



NASTAD is a leading non-partisan non-profit association that represents public health officials who administer HIV and hepatitis programs in the U.S. We work to advance the health and dignity of people living with and impacted by HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, and intersecting epidemics by strengthening governmental public health through advocacy, capacity building, and social justice.