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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
May 28, 2009

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner
(609) 984-7160

Commissioner Howard applauds Atlantic City Syringe Exchange Program


On a visit today to the Atlantic City Syringe Exchange Program (SEP), Health and Senior Services Commissioner Howard applauded the program’s efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS and serve as a pathway to a variety of medical and social services.


Commissioner Howard observed how services are provided and met with staff and clients at the facility, located at the Oasis Drop-In Center of the South Jersey AIDS Alliance. Atlantic City Health and Human Services Director Ron Cash and Eugene Brunner, coordinator of HIV Services for the city, joined the Commissioner on the tour.


“This life-saving program offers participants an opportunity to turn their lives around and access Rapid HIV and hepatitis testing, health care, housing and job training, and drug treatment,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard. “More than half of these clients never sought access to services before so the Syringe Exchange Program is linking participants to vital medical and social services.  


Cash noted that 10 pregnant women have sought out the services of the program and received HIV testing and other services. “People are becoming more and more comfortable with the program,’’ Cash said.


The program has served more than 775 clients since it opened on November 27, 2007.  About 140 of the clients have been referred to drug treatment, with 113 of them being successfully enrolled.  Drug treatment is coordinated through the John Brooks Recovery Center, which is located directly across the street from Syringe Exchange Program. The treatment center receives funding from the Department of Human Services’ Division of Addiction Services. HIV testing is provided through collaboration with the Atlantic City Department of Health.


The Atlantic City Syringe Exchange Program is the oldest of four pilot programs statewide that were approved by the state Department of Health and Senior Services in 2007. The others are located in Camden, Newark and Paterson. Together, the programs have served more than 2,766 clients.

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