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2109 Sumner Avenue
Aberdeen, WA

(360) 532-8631

Directory of services & programs

Filtering by Category: Adult health

Syringe services

Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department

Home > Syringe services

Syringe services is a public health program for people who inject drugs.

Syringe services provides new, sterile syringes, sharps containers, and clean injection equipment.  This reduces the spread of HIV and other blood-borne infections among people who inject drugs, their families, and communities.

Syringe services include:

The Grays Harbor County Public Health and Social Services Department offers syringe services every Wednesday from 11:30am-3:30pm.  These services are provided at an off-site location.  For location information, call Dan Homchick at (360) 500-4066.  We do not exchange syringes at our clinic.

Questions and answers

What is the current situation?

On December 18, 2018, the Grays Harbor County Board of Health adopted a resolution to end Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department’s syringe services program on June 30, 2019.

On April 25, 2019, the Grays Harbor County Board of Health reversed this decision; Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department will continue to provide syringe services.

I have feedback about the syringe services program. How can I share my feedback with health department staff?

We appreciate the feedback we have received and we are committed to addressing concerns and aligning our services with best practices.

We value conversations with community members and other stakeholders so that we can understand concerns. In the weeks to come, we will be identifying ways to connect with community members in both group and individual settings. These opportunities will be announced widely (via newspaper, radio, Facebook). Please stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you would like more information about the syringe services program or would like to provide feedback, please contact Beth Mizushima at

What are syringe services programs?

Syringe services programs (SSPs) are community-based public health programs that serve people who inject drugs. SSPs generally have four core components:

  1. Provide free, sterile syringes and other supplies to prevent the spread of infectious disease.

  2. Facilitate safe disposal of used syringes.

  3. Offer education about overdose prevention and safer injection practices, such as training on how to use naloxone (an overdose-reversal drug).

  4. Provide referrals or access to additional medical, mental, or social services, including HIV and hepatitis C testing and drug treatment and counseling

SSPs reduce the risk of HIV, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne pathogens by increasing access to sterile syringes, removing used syringes from the community, and educating clients about how to prevent the spread of infectious disease and reduce their risk of abscesses and infections.

How long have syringe services existed in Grays Harbor County? Are there other syringe services programs in Washington State?

Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department has operated a syringe services program since 2004. The program was authorized by Resolution #BOH-04-01, approved by Grays Harbor County Board of Health on January 15, 2004.

According to Washington State Department of Health, there are currently 24 syringe services programs operating around Washington State that serve over 45 different locations.


In Washington State, local Boards of Health are given broad authority to “enact such local rules and regulations as are necessary in order to preserve, promote and improve the public health and provide for the enforcement thereof.” This allows local Boards of Health to approve syringe services programs within their jurisdiction. (RCW 70.05.060)

Washington State drug paraphernalia laws do not prohibit the legal distribution of syringes through public health, community based HIV prevention programs, and pharmacies. (RCW 69.50.4121) They also allow any person over the age of 18 to possess sterile syringes for the purpose of reducing bloodborne diseases. (RCW 69.50.412).

Why do syringe services programs make public health sense?

SSPs improve community health. (CDC)

• SSPs reduce HIV, Hepititis C, and other disease transmission.

• SSPs do not increase crime or drug use.

• SSPs connect people to other health services, including HIV testing and care services and drug treatment.

• SSPs facilitate safe syringe disposal, so that police officers, emergency medical responders, and community members are less likely to have a needlestick injury.

• SSPs save health care dollars by preventing infections from blood borne viruses and abscesses from dull, contaminated syringes.

• SSPs reduce overdose death through education about how to prevent and respond to overdose situations.

SSPs are an important part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce the harms of drug use. (Surgeon General Report On Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, 2016)

Historically, society has treated substance use disorders as a moral weakness or as a willful rejection of societal norms, addressing these problems primarily through the criminal justice system.

Evidence now shows that addiction to alcohol or drugs is a chronic, but treatable, brain disorder that requires medical intervention, and has the potential for both recurrence and recovery.

Building on the federal public health approach, many communities are developing public health approaches to address substance misuse. A public health approach seeks to understand the broad factors that influence substance misuse and substance use disorders and applies that knowledge to improve the health, safety, and well-being of the entire population.

In Grays Harbor County, the syringe services program is part of the health department’s comprehensive public health approach to reducing substance misuse.

My Town and Harbor Strong coalitions are focused on preventing underage drug use. Coalition members represent multiple sectors of the community, including; schools, media, private business, city officials, law enforcement, medical, behavioral health treatment, parents and students. These efforts also include a school-based prevention component, which is conducted in partnership with ESD 113, Hoquiam School District and Aberdeen School District.

Grays Harbor Therapeutic Court provides qualifying individuals who have abused substances with an opportunity for judicially supervised treatment as an alternative to incarceration.

• The Overdose Prevention Project distributes naloxone and conducts overdose response education to those at risk of witnessing or experiencing an opioid overdose. This includes community health workers, lay responders, and law enforcement officers. Project staff also collaborated with other community organizations to write and carry out the Grays Harbor County Opioid Needs Assessment and Response Plan, written in 2018.

What happens at the syringe services program in Grays Harbor County?

Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department offers syringe services every Wednesday from 11:30am-3:30pm. The program is operated out of a converted recreational vehicle that parks under the Chehalis River Bridge near downtown Aberdeen.

• Clients are given 1 new, sterile syringe for every used syringe they bring in. If clients bring in a large container of uncounted syringes, staff will use established guidelines to make an educated estimate of the number of needles in the container. To prevent needlestick injuries, staff are prohibited (and clients are discouraged) from handling the needles to do a precise count.

• Clients are also provided other supplies to prevent infections and the spread of infectious diseases, which may include male condoms, band aids, antibiotic ointment, cottons, cookers, tourniquets, alcohol wipes, and hand sanitizer.

• Clients who are at risk of having or witnessing an opioid overdose are provided naloxone and are trained to recognize and intervene in an overdose.

• Using motivational interviewing techniques, staff will assess clients’ readiness for change and make appropriate referrals to community and drug treatment services. Depending on availability, staff from local drug treatment providers may also be on site to help clients directly access treatment services.

How much does the syringe services program in Grays Harbor County cost? Who pays for it?

In 2017, Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department used resources from three different funds to support the syringe services program.

Treatment Sales Tax

In 2009, Grays Harbor County commissioners approved a one-tenth of one percent (.001) sales tax increase to be used for chemical dependency or mental health treatment services; collection of the Treatment Sales Tax began on January 1, 2010. In 2017, just under $53,000 from the county’s Treatment Sales Tax fund was used to support the syringe services program. Specifically, the Treatment Sales Tax funds pay for:

• staff time to operate the program.

• disposal of contaminated needles.

Washington State Project to Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose grant

In 2016, Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department became a partner in a statewide grant to prevent opioid overdose. Funds for this grant come from the federal government and are distributed by University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. These federal grant funds pay for:

• staff time to provide overdose response training.

• naloxone overdose rescue kits.

Washington State Department of Health

The Washington State Department of Health provides infection-prevention supplies, including the syringes, free of charge to the Grays Harbor County syringe services program.

Are there other ways that people can get new, sterile syringes?

Syringes may be available for purchase at retail pharmacies. Washington State does not require a prescription to purchase syringes at a retail pharmacy.

Do syringe services programs increase syringe litter? What should I do if I find a syringe?

We share everyone’s desire for a clean, safe community. Research shows that cities with syringe services programs have less syringe litter than cities without syringe services programs.

Our syringe services program is working to decrease the amount of syringe-related trash in our community. We emphasize proper disposal with our clients. We also offer technical assistance to local municipalities.

It can be unsettling to find a syringe; it is a reminder of the complex problems our community is experiencing.

If you find a syringe, you can help make sure it is disposed of safely.

• If the syringe is on public property, like a city park, call the city or town to report it.

• If the syringe is on private property, tell the landlord or business owner.

• If you want to clean up the syringe yourself, use a pair of tongs to pick up the syringe and put it into a sharps container or some other thick-walled container that can be sealed. Call your local trash collector for disposal instructions.

Visit for resources that can help you teach children what to do if they find a syringe.

Who are our community partners?

City of Aberdeen

Aberdeen Police

Evergreen Treatment Center

Grays Harbor Treatment Solutions

Lifeline Connections

Summit Pacific Medical Center

Grays Harbor Community Hospital


Emergency Medical Services

Other Information

Download and print the “Syringe Services Program: Questions and Answers” document (.pdf)

Download and print the “Syringe Services Program: Questions and Answers” document (.pdf)

Contact LeMay Inc. to learn how to properly dispose of syringes in your garbage (Grays Harbor County only) (website)

Contact LeMay Inc. to learn how to properly dispose of syringes in your garbage (Grays Harbor County only) (website)

Download and print the “Demystifying Syringe Services in 2019” document (.pdf)

Download and print the “Demystifying Syringe Services in 2019” document (.pdf)

Visit to learn what to do if you or your child finds a used needle (website)

Visit to learn what to do if you or your child finds a used needle (website)

Download and print a fact sheet about the benefits of syringe services programs (.pdf)

Download and print a fact sheet about the benefits of syringe services programs (.pdf)

Download and print a fact sheet about syringe services programs, from Washington State Department of Health (.pdf)

Download and print a fact sheet about syringe services programs, from Washington State Department of Health (.pdf)



Hepatitis C


There are reports that fentanyl is in the Grays Harbor drug market.

Fentanyl is being sold in:

  • pill form as fake oxycodone, Xanax, and other club drugs

  • powder form as heroin or fent

  • powder form mixed into drugs like crystal meth and cocaine

Fentanyl is 50-100 times more potent than heroin or morphine.  The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases the risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains fentanyl.

If someone overdoses, always call 911 first.  If you have naloxone, follow protocols for using it.  Give them one dose, wait 2-3 minutes to see if they respond, then give a second dose.  Because fentanyl is so strong, the help of emergency responders, who will have more naloxone, is critical.

Download and print a fentanyl warning sheet (.pdf)

Download and print a fentanyl warning sheet (.pdf)


Developmental disabilities

Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department

Home > Developmental disabilities

We believe everyone should be included at school, at work, and in the community so that they can live a full life and pursue their dreams.



Grays Harbor County’s Developmental Disability program empowers and supports people who have developmental or intellectual disabilities or special needs. We work to increase information about developmental disabilities and we promote understanding and inclusion of individuals with disabilities.

We partner with advocacy groups, schools, the business community, and local, state, and federal agencies.

Experience has taught us that people with developmental disabilities have the skills, interests, and talents to enhance their community. We also know that employment is a powerful way to contribute to the community.

For more information about our history and the services we provide, please visit Washington State Developmental Disabilities Administration’s (DDA) website:

To contact the Grays Harbor County Developmental Disabilities program coordinator, please call or email Dee Dee Garman at (360) 500-4070 or

Services and eligibility


Community information, education, and referral services

We inform and educate the public and school personnel about developmental disabilities and related services. We do this through information and referrals, workshops, support groups, liaison for school IEP/504 meetings, and assistance with applying for state and federal services. This service helps people with developmental disabilities, their families, and other stakeholders learn how to navigate the developmental disabilities, social services, and school systems.

  • Who is eligible for this service? This service is available to anyone with developmental disabilities and their family.

  • Who are the qualified providers of this service in Grays Harbor County?


Individual supported employment services

We assist adults age 21+ who have developmental disabilities and are seeking employment. We provide job training, skill development, job placement, and follow-up services to help the person remain successfully employed. Supports and service levels are based on the needs of the individual.


Community inclusion services

We help people with developmental disabilities build and strengthen relationships and become members in clubs, associations, and/or organizations.

Helpful resources and links

Developmental Disabilities Administration | Offers a variety of home- and community-based services for children and adults with developmental disabilities including Medicaid Personal Care, Employment/Day, Supported Living, therapies, and respite.

Informing Families | Provides up-to-date resource information and planning tools for individuals with developmental disabilities of all ages.

My Life Plan | An online planning tool.

Chartering the Life Course | pamphlet on planning and services.

Parent to Parent (P2P) Programs (Arc of Washington State) | Helps parents connect one-to-one with a trained, experienced parent (based on similar diagnoses and/or family issues), information and referrals, workshops, trainings, and support services.

Washington State Fathers Network | Supports fathers and families of children with special needs.

Disability Movement Coalition (through Arc of Grays Harbor) | Connects people with intellectual/developmental disabilities, family members, guardians, and concerned citizens with people who have lived experience. Disability Movement Coalition helps them organize their voices on important legislative issues that affect their lives.

Arc of Washington State | Advocates for quality services and necessary funding to meet the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Special Olympics Washington | Provides year-round sports training and athletic competition.

Apply to become a provider

Open request for qualifications | Services for individuals with developmental disabilities

This request for qualification (RFQ) provides an opportunity to submit an application for consideration as an agency qualified to provide services in Grays Harbor County.

An agency currently working under a county contract need not respond to this RFQ.

Grays Harbor County contracts with local qualified services providers utilizing funding from the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) to provide the following services:

  • Community information, education, and referral

  • Individual supported employment

  • Community inclusion

Each service is described in the application.

All instructions are available in the application.

Download and print RFQ application (.docx)

Download and print RFQ application (.docx)


Breast, Cervical, & Colon Health Program

Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department

Home > Breast, Cervical, & Colon Health Program

The Grays Harbor County Public Health and Social Services Department's clinic is a provider in the Washington State Breast, Cervical, and Colon Health program.  This program will pay for exams, Pap screening and mammograms for eligible men and women.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be aged 40-64,

  • meet certain income criteria, and

  • have no health insurance coverage for health screening services or have a high deductible for follow-up cancer testing.

breast cervical colon health program.png


Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department

Home > Vaccines

Vaccines prevent a person from getting sick.

Some vaccines are given by poking a needle into the skin (these type of vaccines are called "shots"). Some vaccines are sprayed into the nose (like some types of flu vaccines). Some vaccines are eaten (like the Rotavirus vaccine).

Vaccines are a safe and effective way to keep you, your family, and your community healthy.

Vaccines recommended for children age 0-6

Vaccines recommended for preteens and teens age 7-18

Vaccines recommended for adults

Vaccine Clinic

The Grays Harbor County Public Health and Social Services Department's clinic gives some vaccines to adults. We do not give vaccines to children. We can help you find a health care provider that gives vaccines to children.

Call (360) 532-8631.

Vaccine Records

The Washington State Department of Health provides parents and guardians access to their family members' immunization records at Go to or call (866) 397-0337.

Childhood Vaccine Program

The Washington State Childhood Vaccine Program provides vaccine to all kids less than 19 years of age in Washington. The program uses a combination of federal and state funds to purchase vaccines and distributes them to health care providers.  If you are a health care provider interested in participating in this program, email the Washington State Department of Health at

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