Needle exchange and safer injecting

Sometimes people will not be ready to make changes such as stopping their drinking or drug use completely. In this case, Addaction can still help people stay as safe as possible and minimise risks to themselves and others. This approach is called harm reduction and it can take many forms.

Needle exchange

Getting clean works is essential for anyone injecting drugs. Whether that's opiates, steroids, new psychoactive substances (NPS), or anything else. Our needle exchanges offer a wide range of kit for free including syringes, cups, swabs, condoms and more. You can also chat confidentially to one of our friendly workers about anything and everything.

Many of our services offer a Keep Calm and Carry Naloxone programme and can provide advice, information and testing for Hepatitis C. Find your nearest service and come along for a chat, or call for more information.

Injecting Harm Reduction Advice

Injecting is extremely risky; whether you’re injecting Steroids, Heroin or Snowballing. We always recommend you do not inject as it brings all sorts of risks with it. If you are going to inject despite knowing the risks please checkout some of our ideas below to help you stay as safe as possible.

1. Carry Naloxone

Naloxone wipes heroin and other opiates off your receptors which means that any heroin in your body will stop being effective for enough time to get emergency services involved by bringing you out of an overdose. If you haven’t got one call us now to get yours. If you have, make sure it isn’t over three years old. If it is, get in touch if it is to renew your pack.

2. Nevershare

Our needle exchange is always stocked with ‘Nevershare’ barrels which come in different colours to ensure you don’t get confused which one is yours.

3. Always use fresh equipment

Sharing equipment puts you at enormous risk of contracting blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis or HIV. Our needle exchange is always stocked.

4. Never inject into high-risk areas

Your groin, your breasts, your penis and your neck are very high risk and we will always recommend against injecting into those areas.

5. If it’s pink stop and think

Make sure you inject into veins; a handy guide is that when injecting if a pink substance comes out; stop immediately. If it’s red it will be a vein and you can continue.

You can find lots more advice to keep you safe - including leaflets and videos - at Harm Reduction Works.