Syringe (or Needle) Exchange, and so much more

By on June 4, 2021

The Community Care Clinic, located in Nags Head on Barnes Street up the hill from Ace Hardware and across from PEAK Resources, serves clients in a variety of ways. One of the newer programs is the Syringe Services Program (SSP) (sometimes referred to as a Needle Exchange Program).

What is this program and how does it work?

In partnership with Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services – Public Health Division, The Community Care Clinic has become the sole county Syringe Services Program (SSP). Anyone in Dare County including patients with diabetes, regardless of insurance status, can use the SSP. Used needles can be safely dropped off.

The SSP provides the following services – free sanitized needles and other supplies, access to primary care for uninsured adults, educational materials focusing on HIV, Hepatitis, and other STDs, and connection to local resources, including substance abuse treatment/mental health providers. To access the SSP, you can call the clinic at 252-261-3041 between 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Mon -Thurs or come to the clinic during the same times and ring the front doorbell.

One of our clinical staff members will meet you around the side of the clinic where the private SSP area is housed. We understand the physiological aspects of substance abuse and are ready to meet people where they are, a foundation of this harm reduction program. We’ve been able to help people with wound infections, dental abscesses, and medication assisted treatment in a supportive, non-judgmental environment.

Can someone be involved in this program even if they do have health insurance?

Absolutely, the SSP is available to anyone regardless of insurance status or socioeconomic status.

Is participation in this program confidential?

Yes, participation in the SSP is completely confidential. Participants receive a Participant Card with an ID number (no name is on the card). The ID card should be kept with the participant at all times & states that the carrier of the card is a participant in a certified SSP and is exempt from arrest, charge, and prosecution for the possession of syringes and other injection supplies as well as residual amounts of a controlled substance in the syringe or other supplies.

What are the other services that the Community Care Clinic provides?

The Clinic is a comprehensive medical home offering primary care, medication assistance, and health/wellness education at no cost to the patient. In addition to direct care, they are able to refer patients to specialists, substance abuse/mental health providers, or for diagnostic tests like MRIs and CT Scans. They work with the Outer Banks Hospital, Chesapeake Imaging Center, Dare County Health Department, dentists and local pharmacies to provide care at no cost to the patient.

To be eligible for primary care services, locals cannot have private insurance, Medicare, or full Medicaid (if someone just has Family-Planning Medicaid, they are eligible), and the household income needs to be less than 300% of the federal guidelines. (You can call the clinic for more information – 252-261-3041).

Three local pharmacies partner with CCCD to provide expensive mental health and medication assisted treatment to Clinic patients at no cost. Pharmaceutical companies and NC MedAssist provide chronic disease medications and mental health medications also at no cost to the patient. The Clinic provides individualized education for patients to prevent and manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

Partnering with Beach Food Pantry, the Clinic incorporates nutrition education focusing on healthy foods. Although the Community Care Clinic provides charitable care, it is high quality and reliable. We have multiple Spanish interpreters, bilingual clinical staff members, VOYCE interpretation service, and a bilingual certified Health Coach.

The Clinic’s most important partner is the patient; we provide a patient-centered model of care, working with patients to empower them to make personal choices about their care. The Community Care Clinic meets patients where they are in their health journey and encourages them along the way. Other services offered to CCCD patients include: FIT colon cancer screening for 45+ yrs. old adults; diabetic retinal eye screenings, limited COVID-19 testing for patients; access to a local dentist for tooth abscesses.

Source: Communication with L. Jenkins, Executive Director of the Community Care Clinic of Dare.

Jo Ann Hummers, EdD, is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist, with a private practice at the Nags Head Professional Center. She provides DWI assessments and treatment, smoking cessation sessions, and treatment for gambling and other addictions.




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