Syringe Exchanges in Tennessee

County map of Tennessee that highlights which counties have Syringe Services Programs.
Tennessee Department of Health

Syringe exchanges, known as Syringe Services Programs (SSP) by the Tennessee Department of Health, provide wraparound harm reduction services to people who use drugs. They distribute sterile syringes, naloxone, other injection equipment, and safe syringe disposal containers; provide testing for HIV and viral hepatitis and link people with these diseases to treatment; offer overdose prevention education; refer participants to addiction treatment, social services, and medical providers; and educate participants about HIV, viral hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

A total of seven organizations run 11 OFFICIAL SSP sites across Tennessee: four in Memphis, two in Nashville, and five in East Tennessee (Chattanooga, Johnson City, Knoxville, Newport, and Tazewell). A total of two organizations run two UNOFFICIAL syringe exchanges/harm reduction programs in Tennessee: one in Jackson — us! — and another in Knoxville.

Unofficial Syringe Exchanges and Harm Reduction Programs in Tennessee

Jackson

Tennessee Harm Reduction — us! — runs an “underground” syringe exchange in Jackson. If you’re interested in syringes, naloxone (NARCAN®), fentanyl test strips, or other harm reduction supplies, we encourage you to contact us through Facebook or our website (this one!).
• Facebook: @TNHRWest, @TennesseeHarmReduction
• Instagram: @TennesseeHarmReduction
• Twitter: @TNHarmReduction
• Website: https://tennesseeharmreduction.com

We use a car-based mobile outreach model, meaning we:

  1. Drive to meet participants at an agreed-upon meeting place (all the time) AND
  2. Stop at public locations throughout Jackson during random, unscheduled outreach drives (typically at least once/week)
Daniel Garrett of Tennessee Harm Reduction pictured with a box full of intramuscular (IM) naloxone kits in Jackson, TN

I typically make several stops around the “block” that’s bordered by the (direction) and (road):

WestUS-45 BYP/Casey Jones Ave.
SouthOld Hickory Blvd.
EastN. Highland
NorthCarriage House Blvd.

Me in my natural habitat, looking as goofy and tubby as ever.
Photo by Tasha A. F. Lemley

Map showing where Tennessee Harm Reduction usually drives on mobile distribution runs — the loop of Carriage House Boulevard, Wallace Road, Old Hickory Avenue, North Highland Avenue
When we do outreach drives in Jackson, this is the route we usually take. The route is outlined with a dotted line.

Knoxville

East Tennessee Harm Reduction — which is not related to Tennessee Harm Reduction in any way — distributes harm reduction supplies in Knoxville.

There isn’t much information available about East Tennessee Harm Reduction outside of its Instagram feed. It doesn’t have an online presence outside of its IG profile — no website, no other social medias, no listings on program directories, etc.

East Tennessee Harm Reduction’s preferred contact method is via email at easttnharmredux@protonmail.com. You can also reach them via their über-popular Instagram page, @EastTNHarmRedux.

Official Syringe Services Programs in Tennessee

West Tennessee

As of December 2021, Memphis is home to all three of West Tennessee’s state-approved Syringe Services Programs:

Memphis

A Betor Way is in Memphis, located at 1571 Sycamore View Road — just off Exit 12 if you’re coming from I-40 West. It’s open every Friday from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. I’ve been going to A Betor Way since the summer of 2021 and can vouch for its legit-ness. A Betor Way, the first syringe exchange in Memphis, always has hot food and cold drinks, so if you’re a bum like me, come here hungry and you’re bound to leave happy. Follow their Facebook — it’s actually quite active.
• Facebook: @abetorway
• Website: https://abetorway.org

The Memphis Area Prevention Coalition’s Safe Point Needle Exchange operates each Wednesday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at 28 N. Claybrook Street in Memphis, Tennessee. MAPC also sets up shop on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 3628 Summer Avenue, which is also in Memphis. Although the Shelby County syringe exchange doesn’t have a phone number, you can call the Memphis Area Prevention Coalition at (901) 249-2828.
• Facebook: @memphisprevent
• Instagram: @memphisprevent, @safepoint.ssp
• Twitter: @memphisprevent
• Website: https://memphisprevention.org/

The newest Syringe Services Program in Memphis is the Partnership to End AIDS Status, Inc. The nonprofit organization has a long history, dating back to its foundation in 2009 and its attainment of 501(c)(3) status in 2010. Located at 6073 Mount Moriah Road, Suite 19 in Memphis, PEAS, Inc.’s syringe exchange is open from Monday to Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and on Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Reach PEAS by phone at (901) 315-3316 or (901) 234-0220.
• Facebook: @peasmemphis2009
• Instagram: @partnershiptoendaidsstatus
• Twitter: @to_aids
• Website: https://partnershiptoendaidsstatus.com

Although it’s not a syringe exchange, the Shelby County Health Department runs the only stand-alone Needle Disposal Program in Memphis. 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 service, which can only be paid in cash.
• Website: https://shelbytnhealth.com/382/Needle-Disposal-Program

Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee is home to just one SSP:

Nashville

Nashville is home to one SSP, Street Works, which ran for years on an underground basis before earning an official title as one of the Volunteer State’s few Syringe Services Programs. Street Works runs an SSP on 907 Gallatin Pike in Madison from Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Street Works has at least one other location. Although it’s registered at 101 Old Trail Court in Nashville, participants are advised to call ahead for services — (615) 779-4840. This number works for both of Street Works’ locations.
• Facebook: @StreetWorksTN
• Twitter: @NashStreetWorks
• Website: http://streetworks.org

East Tennessee

As of December 2021, there are five cities with syringe exchanges in East Tennessee:

Chattanooga

The needle exchange program in Chattanooga is run by Cempa Community Care — Cempa for short — and can be found at 4001 Rossville Blvd. From Monday through Thursday, the Cempa SSP operates from 8;30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., taking a 45-minute break for lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It closes three hours early on Fridays, shutting its doors at 1:30 p.m. Call (423) 834-7374 for additional info.
• Facebook: @CempaCommunityCare
• Instagram: @CempaCommunityCare
• Twitter: @CempaCare
• Website: https://cempa.org

Johnson City

The only needle exchange in Johnson City is the Syringe Trade and Education Program of Tennessee (STEP TN), which is found at 615 North State of Franklin Rd. It runs Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., though it’s closed for lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Its phone number is (423) 930-8337 ext. 117. Although STEP TN is a Cempa Community Care project, it’s operated independently under the STEP TN label.
• Facebook: @STEPTNReduceSyringeReuse
• Website: https://cempa.org/steptn/

Knoxville

Operated by Choice Health Network Harm Reduction, the syringe exchange program in Knoxville is found at 1925 Ailor Avenue. Participants are encouraged to call ahead to make appointments — (865) 208-7356. CHN Harm Reduction encourages participants to report positive fentanyl test strip results and opioid overdose reversals via naloxone through its online portal. Other services include HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) testing, HIV prevention (PEP and PrEP), food, transportation, peer support, mental health counseling and therapy, and medical care.
• Facebook: @CHNHarmReduction
• Instagram: @CHNHarmReduction
• Twitter: @HR_ChoiceHealth
• Website: https://choicehealthnetwork.org

Positively Living, Inc., a Cookeville-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, created Choice Health Network in 2018 to expand its services. Positively Living’s history dates back to 1996, when it began caring for people who live with HIV and AIDS. Choice Health Network is not an independent nonprofit organization; it’s legally registered as Positively Living & Choice Health Network, which is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
• Facebook: @PLandCHN
• Website: https://choicehealthnetwork.org/positively-living/

Newport

Also operated by CHN Harm Reduction, the syringe exchange program in Newport is found at 2165 Cosby Highway in Newport and open on Tuesdays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. If you’re having trouble finding it, it’s in the old Walmart parking lot. Feel free to call Choice Health Network at (865) 208-7356.
• Facebook: @CHNHarmReduction
• Instagram: @CHNHarmReduction
• Twitter: @HR_ChoiceHealth
• Website: https://choicehealthnetwork.org

Tazewell

Live Free – Claiborne is one of Tennessee’s newest Syringe Services Programs. As the only syringe exchange in Claiborne County, Live Free – Claiborne operates a fixed-site syringe exchange that’s located at 1216 Cedar Fork Road. This Tazewell syringe exchange is open Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. You can reach Live Free – Claiborne by phone at (423) 526-5655.
• Facebook: @LiveFree.Claiborne
• Instagram: @LiveFree.Claiborne
• Website: https://www.livefreeclaiborne.org

Rural Areas

As of now, unfortunately, there aren’t any state-approved 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 it’s normal to get turned down. If this doesn’t work, reach out to the free mail-based supply distributor NEXT Distro (click “Get Supplies” atop the page).

If you’re willing to shell out a few bucks — which you’re probably already doing to buy syringes from friends, family members, or dealers — look online for diabetes supplies stores or medical supply vendors.

Don’t be afraid to buy syringes online. Even if you’re apprehensive to buy rigs online, take a chance! Your veins will thank you later. If you don’t know where to look, try OTCWholesale.com or DiabetesSupplies4Less.com (both of these are legitimate, independent, online-based medical supply retailers that I can vouch for — I receive no kickbacks or other income from referring you these resources).

Still don’t know where to turn? Let us help you figure out: Where Can I Find Syringes and Naloxone in Tennessee?

For Drug Users, By Drug Users

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