'Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.'

Operating a needle exchange should be about more than just dishing out new needles and syringes. We believe that anyone working in a needle exchange or handing out packs, should have as much knowledge about the risks of injecting, safe injecting techniques and blood borne viruses as possible . . . .

  • Why are there different sizes of needles and syringes?
  • What do the choice of needles and syringes tell us about someone's drug use?
  • Which drugs are most often injected?
  • Which drugs should never be injected?
  • What are the safest injection sites and how should they be rotated?
  • What is the safest way to prepare an injection?
  • What water should you use?
  • What are blood borne viruses and how do you avoid them?
  • What is deep vein thrombosis and how can it be avoided?
  • What other health risks are their to injecting? What is septicemia? Why do people get abcesses and ulcers?
  • Which combinations of drugs are particularly dangerous to inject?
  • What are the five routes of administration, and how can drugs be taken in a different way?
  • What advice do you give to prevent overdoses?
  • What advice do you give about infections or wounds/
  • Why do we give out sharps boxes and how should they be collected?

This, and more is included in this challenging, yet oddly fascinating workshop, and it is intended to allow the staff and volunteers give deliver safe and practical harm minimisation advice.