NHS Provide Needles for Drug Addicts
Gear for injecting © Pookini

Gear for injecting © Pookini

Drug addiction can be a troubling, lonely and life destroying practice that is extremely difficult to beat. Various drugs pose different threats, some of which are much more harmful than others. To take drugs is a risky business as people put their lives and their livelihood in danger. Drugs that are injected straight into the body tend to be more dangerous than others due to the nature in which they are taken. Not only are you at risk of track lines, collapsed veins and artery abscesses, you are also at risk of contracting life threatening diseases such as Hepatitis, HIV, Cellutitis, Thrombophlebitis and Necrotising Fasciitis.  Those who inject are also likely to do so several times a day as the effects of drugs entering the bloodstream straight away are short term. As a result the user is increasing the number of times they can cause harm in one day.

In order to try and tackle the dangers associated with drug taking the NHS Tayside are handing out free needles. In over two years there have been 862,562 needles handed out to addicts, 452,000 of these during 2014-2015 an increase compared to the 410,557 handed out in 2013.  The needle exchange programme is important for encouraging safe needle use whilst also offering help and information on how to stop drug addiction.  Although the number of hypodermic needles handed out is high it is easy to see why the numbers add up so quickly with one addict needing around 35 needles a week.

The exchange programme has greatly improved the health of users with fewer cases of HIV being recorded.  In 2012 less than five cases of HIV were contracted through drug injection in the NHS Tayside area. There have been no cases since the 2012/13 financial year and the plan is to keep it that way.

As well as reducing the number of diseases contracted the programme also reduces the number of needles discarded inappropriately.  Most of those involved in the programme are happy enough to return their needles so that they can be dealt with accordingly through incineration. This is important for ensuring that the needles aren’t put in bins where other users can get hold of them and use them again. Needles through the exchange programmes are designed to be used only once.


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Friday, May 27th, 2016 by Charlie Stelling About Us No Comments

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