Building Community Engagement for Syringe Services Programs

SFDPH has a long history of working with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). We formalized the relationship in 2010, when a Police Department Bulletin was developed between the agencies. We continue to strengthen our partnership by regular communication and collaboration with PD (for example, partnership at community meetings, roll call trainings, etc.).

Community input is an important component of the comprehensive syringe disposal plan. The SFDPH participates in community meetings to respond to any concerns about discarded syringes. Additionally, the Health Department regularly attends Police Department Community meetings to respond to concerns about discarded syringes and to discuss possible solutions with the community.

Community engagement efforts are strengthened by regular communication with local supervisor and community groups of designated hot spots. If local businesses, schools, or community members have been identified as having concerns about disposal box placement, SFDPH attends community meeting to address concerns.

In San Francisco, the Mission, Tenderloin, and South of Market neighborhoods have been identified as areas where a high volume of improperly disposed syringes accumulate. To prevent a public health risk to the general community, as well as City maintenance workers, permanent disposal boxes are recommended.  Community members, law enforcement, and government officials have expressed support of piloting syringe disposal boxes in areas identified as “hot spots.” As part of our coordination effort, SFDPH convenes a quarterly meeting of City and community partners that provide syringe disposal to develop and sustain a coordinated and collaborative response through City and community partnerships in order to decrease improperly discarded syringes.

See below for an example of how SFDPH has partnered with SFPD.


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