About Us

The Free Clinic

& Needle Exchange

The San Joaquin Valley Free Medical Clinic and Needle Exchange is a small band of staff and volunteer physicians, pre-med / pre-nursing / pre-pharm students, family practice residents, social work faculty/students and community volunteers.

For over 29 years, the Free Medical Clinic and Needle Exchange have been providing medical care and social services to active injecting drug addicts, prostitutes, homeless individuals, and those living in destitute poverty in the Fresno area.

The San Joaquin Valley Needle Exchange exchanges over 13,000 syringes in a 2-hour period every Saturday just outside our mobile medical clinic. In the mobile unit, medical care is provided for those who use the Exchange. Urgent and chronic medical conditions are treated, especially those related to patients’ drug use/addiction. Antibiotics are prescribed, outpatient surgeries such as incision and drainage of abscesses, suturing lacerations, and caring for open wounds/ulcerations are performed multiple times a day. Vaccinations have been provided to this high-risk population. Naloxone (Narcan), an opiate antagonist for opioid overdose, is readily prescribed and distributed at the clinic. Patients are jumpstarted into MAT (Medicated Assisted Treatment) with enough buprenorphine (Suboxone) to get off of opioids and safely into an Opioid Treatment Program within 3 – 7 days; OR remain in our clinic’s medical care to continue receiving MAT at the exchange.

The Free Medical Clinic and Needle Exchange also serves as a clinical site for the Valley Health Team Family Medicine Residency Program, Adventist Health Family Medicine Residency Programs in Hanford and Tulare, and to the California Health Sciences University – College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Our Mission & Approach

Our aim is to improve the safety, health care and welfare of injection drug users by providing them with free health care, treatment, referrals for treatment and social services. The mission of the organization is to keep people disease free and alive until they can step out of their addiction.

Featured Documentary:

The Clinic

Amidst a devastating opioid epidemic, a needle exchange & free clinic operates in the shadows of Fresno, California.

Directed and Produced by Elivia Shaw