Needle and Syringe Programmes (NSP – Needle Exchange)
Drugaid believes specialist NSPs provide an essential opportunity for interaction with hard to reach populations of drug users. We provide direct access specialist needle exchange across our operational areas from our office bases and our mobile unit in Dyfed. Drugaid needle exchanges are discreet and confidential and opening times will be widely published. NSPs are also provided by participating pharmacies where you see this sign:
Drugaid provides needle exchange services during normal working hours in its bases
- Merthyr Tydfil
- Ebbw Vale
- Dyfed Harm Reduction Bus
We clearly display the addresses of pharmacies offering needle exchange outside normal working hours when Drugaid NSPs are closed on the doors of our services.
We provide a full range of leaflets and equipment including:
- Vitamin C sachets
- Citric sachets
- Needles and barrels in a range of sizes
- Written resources aimed at users of Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs
- Foil to encourage injecting heroin users to change their route of administration to smoking
- Water ampoules
- Bins for safe disposal of all equipment
Needle exchange provides an opportunity for service users who may not be in contact with any other services to engage directly with specialist drugs workers on pressing issues concerning their injecting habits, injecting sites and general health. Workers can introduce users to services available to them.
Drugaid is a member of the Welsh Needle Exchange Forum. We work in line with evidence based practice including updated NICE guidelines (2014) (link), Welsh Government’s treatment framework (link) and our in-house Needle Exchange Policy (link).
All staff delivering needle exchange services are competent in providing safer injecting advice and use the opportunity to engage with injecting drug users. We also encourage the safe return of used equipment. Drugaid monitors its returns (as does Welsh Government as it provides funding for these services). It is really important that users bring back used equipment so that it does not end up in the public domain and can be disposed of safely.
Needle exchange services are confidential. Drugaid enters information onto a national database called NEO. Service users cannot be identified via the database as only aggregated information is published. NEO provides information back to drug services including information about the uptake of blood borne virus services, drug taking trends and levels of use.