Syringe exchanges, known as Syringe Services Programs (SSP) by the Tennessee Department of Health, aren’t very common in Tennessee. There are two in West Tennessee, one in Middle Tennessee, and three in East Tennessee.
According to the state’s Allison Wilhelm, as of April 21, 2020, there are seven active syringe services programs in Tennessee — two in Memphis, two in Nashville, and three in East Tennessee (Chattanooga, Johnson City, and Knoxville).
A Betor Way is also in Memphis, though at 1571 Sycamore View Road. It operates every Friday from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Although it’s not an SSP, the Shelby County Health Department operates a Needle Disposal Program. Visit 814 Jefferson Ave.’s Central Laboratory, found in Room 258, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to get a sharps container and to turn in used syringes. Note that, unlike every other SSP listed here, Shelby County Health Department charges a “minimal fee” for its syringe disposal services.
Nashville is only home to one SSP, Street Works, which ran for years on an underground, illegal basis before earning an official title as one of the Volunteer State’s few Syringe Services Programs. In Madison, on 907 Gallatin Pike, Street Works operates from Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
You can also call (615) 779-4840 for more information.
Note: I claimed there were two SSPs in Nashville. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, both of which are operated by Street Works. One is located in Nashville at 101 Old Trail Court, the other at 907 Gallatin Pike in Madison. I don’t know the difference between these two locations — call Street Works at the aforementioned phone number to learn more.
East Tennessee is home to three SSPs, two of which are run by Cempa Community Care, the other by Choice Health Network.
Chattanooga’s SSP is run by Cempa and can be found at 1042 East 3rd St. It operates from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; an additional hour in the evenings on Tuesdays; and closes early on Fridays at 12:30 p.m.
The Tri-Cities’ area’s sole SSP, also known as the Syringe Trade and Education Program of Tennessee (STEP TN), is found at 615 North State of Franklin St. in Johnson City and runs Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., though is closed for lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Operated by Choice Health Network, Knoxville’s SSP is found at 701 N. Cherry St. and operates for two hours on Monday and Thursday, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Since publication, someone from Choice Health Network told me these times and this address are wrong. They asked me to include their phone number — (865) 208-7356.
As of now, unfortunately, there aren’t any syringe services programs in rural Tennessee. This leaves most of Tennessee’s injection drug users shit outta luck.
I recommend visiting pharmacies — try independent ones — for syringes, though you may get turned down. If this doesn’t work, try out diabetes or medical supply websites or the free mail-based supply distributor NEXT Distro.