The Needle Exchange Program of Asheville (NEPA) is designed to decrease the rate of new cases of blood-borne infections by replacing potentially contaminated syringes with sterile ones. Anyone may visit the WNCAP office at 554 Fairview Rd. in Asheville to drop off dirty needles and pick up clean ones, as well as to obtain sterile cookers, cottons, and tourniquets. The Centers for Disease Control state that syringe exchange programs are effective in bringing down new cases of HIV and viral Hepatitis.
NEPA is a judgement free space and WNCAP will never ask any questions, demand any form of ID, or accept any payment. Not only is NEPA effective as a harm reduction strategy, it offers an opportunity to educate NEPA clients about HIV and STD prevention, sexual violence resources, and drug treatment. It helps to reduce the stigma associated with drug use and elevates the public health of the entire community.
Due to the rising tide of the opioid epidemic, which is particularly severe in Western North Carolina, demand for NEPA services runs very high. Despite a very generous $50,000 grant from Derick Boyd, owner of O.Henry’s of Asheville, NEPA still runs out of needles and supplies too quickly and is forced to turn people away. Fortunately, our friends at The Steady Collective distribute free sterile syringes and Naloxone (Narcan), an opioid overdose reversal medication, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Also, all Walgreens locations in Western North Carolina have committed to selling syringes to all who ask for them with no questions asked.
We are in a public health crisis. As of now, NEPA receives no public funding from the federal, state, or local governments. That means this program is especially dependent on the generosity of our community members who are willing to step up for public health. Please consider donating to the Needle Exchange Program of Asheville. Your gift could change – or save – a life.
The hours of operation for the Needle Exchange Program of Asheville are 9am-5pm on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Be sure to “Like” WNCAP on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for NEPA updates, including when we run out of supplies and when we re-stock.