Free, safe & confidential

What is it?

The Needle and Syringe Exchange Service is a free, confidential service for people who inject drugs. You can get new, sterile injecting equipment through the service. This reduces your risk of catching viruses, like HIV and hepatitis B and C, which are spread by contact with infected blood.

The service also disposes of used equipment safely, which reduces the risk of other people coming into contact with these viruses via used needles or syringes.

Who can use it?

If you inject drugs of any sort, you can use a needle and syringe exchange service. This includes opioids, steroids, stimulants and tanning solutions. You do not have to commit to any treatment to use the service, although the staff will be happy to help you access other services at any time if you want.

What can I expect at an exchange?

The service can offer advice, information and support to help you reduce your risk of harm You will be treated in a respectful manner at all times by all staff and your exchange will be confidential. It is also expected that you will behave in a respectful way towards staff and other clients at all times.

You can get advice or written information on:

  • Blood borne viruses
  • Safer injecting
  • Hepatitis B immunisation
  • Overdose prevention
  • Naloxone (a medication which can save lives by reversing the effects of opioid overdose)

You can get sterile needles and syringes for injecting, and associated materials, such as condoms, citric acid, sterile water and swabs, along with sharps containers (cinbins) for returning used equipment in.

Needle exchange providers will work with you to make sure you have enough equipment for your needs. If you want more than one pack or extra needles because you live far away and find it hard to get to the pharmacy, or because you are getting packs for friends, then tell your pharmacist so they can give you extra packs.

If you don’t plan to use all the equipment in a pack, please tell your pharmacist so they can open it and you can take only what you need. This saves you having to dispose of what you don’t use, and also saves money because expensive equipment is not being thrown away.

It is really important that you return your needles so they can be disposed of safely. Before bringing them to the pharmacy, put them in your small black cinbin, and make sure it is properly sealed.