Syringe Exchange


BEHRS-Behavioral Empowerment & Harm Reduction Services

Our syringe exchange program, BEHRS (Behavioral Empowerment and Harm Reduction Services), has locations in both Albuquerque and Farmington. Syringe exchange is legal in New Mexico. Syringe exchange programs have been scientifically tested and proven to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis B & C, and HIV.  It has also been proven to reduce harm and health complications associated with drug use for participants as well as their partners, families, and friends. Syringe Exchange has also been shown to reduce the frequency of drug use and can increase the likelihood of program participants enrolling in drug treatment.

Based on a study done in New Mexico, it was determined that if immediate action was not taken to stop the spread of diseases among injectors, that Hepatitis and HIV here in New Mexico would rapidly increase. 

The results of this study prompted our local government officials, and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), to mandate Syringe Exchange Programs to prevent the spread of these infectious diseases. The NMDOH oversees New Mexico Syringe Exchange Programs and provides training, support, and materials to keep syringe exchange programs across New Mexico in operation.

One of the many benefits of a Syringe Exchange Program is better health outcomes, including preventing the spread Hepatitis and/or HIV. BEHRS also helps participants access resources that can help them cope with hardships associated with drug use. Syringe Exchange Programs also keep used syringes out of public places and city landfills, preventing needle stick accidents and possible exposure to infectious disease.

Aside from the many health benefits, the cost benefits to all New Mexicans are considerable. The cost of one person participation in our program costs the state approximately $200 in supplies per year.  When compared to the cost of treating someone with HIV or Hepatitis for a year ($15,000 - $30,000), the financial benefit becomes obvious.

Our BEHRS program does not require names or contact information.  It is open to residents of New Mexico, 18 years or older, who are actively injecting non-prescription drugs. Participants are provided with sterile injection supplies, educational tools that teach about safer drug use and injection, HIV testing, Hepatitis A & B vaccine, and blood screening for Hepatitis B & C.

Drop Box
We also have a syringe/sharps drop box, located in our parking lot, for community use. Please keep in mind that those wishing to participate in the syringe exchange program should not use this drop box as their syringes cannot be counted by the syringe exchange staff.

Participants can access:
• Safer injection supplies including: new/sterile syringes, “one hit kits”, alcohol swabs, tourniquets, cottons, triple anti-biotic ointment, sharps containers, wound care kits, various printed information addressing health and harm reduction, safe disposal of used syringes.

Information and training is available on the following:

• Safer injection and better vein care
• Risk and harm reduction practices
• HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infection and Hepatitis prevention information, testing and vaccinations (Hep. A&B)
• Abscess and wound care information
• Better nutrition advice
• Drug treatment options
• Contact information and service hours for other SEP sites and health Providers

To access the BEHRS (Syringe Exchange) Program, please call to make an appointment at 938-7100. NMAS also offers walk-ins every Monday from 11:00am-3:30pm

If you have any questions about our BEHRS program please email (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by calling (505) 938-7100.

Related links:

State of New Mexico Department of Health
Harm Reduction Coalition
www.nasen.org
www.drugpolicy.org/about/stateoffices/newmexico
www.cdc.gov/needledisposal/nm/index.htm
www.erowid.org
www.hcvadvocate.org