Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP)

In 2000, the New York State Legislature changed the Public Health Law to authorize a demonstration program to expand access to sterile hypodermic needles and syringes. This is a public health measure to prevent blood borne diseases, most notably HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and hepatitis C. ESAP became effective January 1, 2001 ..

What The Law Says

  • Licensed pharmacies, health care facilities, and health care practitioners who can otherwise prescribe hypodermic needles or syringes may register with the New York State Department of Health to sell or furnish up to 10 hypodermic needles or syringes to persons 18 years of age or older.
  • Persons who are age 18 years or older may legally obtain and possess hypodermic needles and syringes through ESAP- without a medical prescription.
  • Pharmacies may not advertise availability of hypodermic needles or syringes without a prescription and they must keep them in a manner that makes them available only to pharmacy staff (i.e., not openly available to customers).
  • Registered providers must cooperate in a program to assure safe disposal of used hypodermic needles or syringes.
  • Hypodermic needles and syringes provided through ESAP are accompanied by a safety insert explaining proper use, risk of blood borne diseases, proper disposal, dangers of injection drug use, how to access drug treatment as well as information about HIV/AIDS.
  • An independent evaluation conducted in consultation with the New York State AIDS Advisory Council, was submitted to the Governor and the Legislature on January 15, 2003. It assessed the impact of ESAP on needle and syringe sharing, drug use, pharmacy practice, criminal activity, accidental needlesticks among law enforcement, sanitation and other personnel, syringe disposal, and various methods of education on safe use and proper disposal.

The New York State Department of Health was responsible for developing regulations to implement ESAP.


What To Do If You Have Questions Concerning ESAP

Questions concerning ESAP can be directed as follows:

  • ESAP Registration Process: Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement at (518) 402-0707.
  • Other Program Information: AIDS Institute at (212) 417-4770
  • By email also: ESAP@health.state.ny.us