Half a mil­lion nee­dles to re­duce drug dan­ger

Rutherglen Reformer - - Intimations - Robert Mitchell

Al­most 500,000 free sy­ringes and nee­dles were handed out across La­nark­shire to users of il­licit drugs last year.

A new re­port re­veals that an es­ti­mated 6,900 peo­ple re­ceived in­ject­ing equip­ment from the NHS.

The an­nual fig­ures show that 476,387 nee­dles and sy­ringes were dis­trib­uted, an av­er­age of 1305 ev­ery day across the county.

Mau­reen Woods, leader of NHS La­nark­shire’s harm re­duc­tion team, said: “The pur­pose of in­ject­ing equip­ment pro­vi­sion (IEP) is harm re­duc­tion as pro­vid­ing in­ject­ing equip­ment has been found to be ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing in­ject­ing risk be­hav­iours in peo­ple who in­ject drugs.

“There are a num­ber of health risks as­so­ci­ated with in­ject­ing drug use, in­clud­ing bac­te­rial in­fec­tions such as sep­ti­caemia and tetanus and ab­scesses, cel­luli­tis and col­lapsed veins which can re­sult from in­ject­ing with a blunt nee­dle.

“In­jec­tors are also sus­cep­ti­ble to a range of blood-borne virus (BBV) in­fec­tions, the most preva­lent of which is hep­ati­tis C.

“Given this, IEP in­ter­ven­tions help re­duce the risk of in­fec­tion and pre­vent the trans­mis­sion of BBVs.

“It is im­por­tant to note that IEP in­ter­ven­tions also in­clude ad­vice on the safe dis­posal of used in­ject­ing equip­ment.

“The harm re­duc­tion team also works closely with the La­nark­shire Al­co­hol and Drug Part­ner­ship, which aims to pre­vent drug deaths through a com­bi­na­tion of pre­ven­ta­tive work and work­ing di­rectly with those who have drug ad­dic­tions with a fo­cus on re­cov­ery.”

The fig­ures for 2015/16 were re­leased by In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices Di­vi­sion Scot­land, a part of NHS Scot­land which pro­vides health ser­vice data used in plan­ning.

Due to data collection is­sues in 2014/15, NHS La­nark­shire data was not deemed re­li­able enough for use.

How­ever, in 2013/14 the num­ber of nee­dles and sy­ringes dis­trib­uted was 393,689. The 2012/13 num­ber was 370,049 and in 2011/12 it was 356,178.

Across La­nark­shire an av­er­age of 69 nee­dles and sy­ringes were dis­trib­uted per problem drug user in 2015/16.

In Glas­gow, in­clud­ing Castlemilk, Croft­foot, To­ry­glen and King’s Park, over 1.1 mil­lion nee­dles were handed out last year.

The re­port says: “The pro­vi­sion of in­ject­ing equip­ment has been found to be ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing in­ject­ing risk be­hav­iours in peo­ple who in­ject drugs.

“This in­ter­ven­tion helps pre­vent the trans­mis­sion of blood borne viruses such as hep­ati­tis C and HIV among peo­ple who in­ject drugs and re­duces as­so­ci­ated health­care costs.”

Pro­vid­ing in­ject­ing equip­ment has been found to be ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing in­ject­ing risk be­hav­iours in peo­ple

Grim A re­port re­veals de­tails of the use of il­licit drugs

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