Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) are an important public health initiative that have helped prevent the spread of blood borne viruses by minimising the sharing of injecting equipment. But what do they really do?
NSPs provide clean injecting equipment including needles and syringes, swabs, and sharps bins for the safe disposal of used injecting equipment. Additionally, NSPs can provide information regarding reducing the harms associated with injecting drugs, referrals to drug treatment, extra equipment such as condoms, and information regarding safe sex and other health issues.
There are different types of NSP services including stand alone services, NSPs located within existing treatment services and in some areas there are mobile NSP services that will deliver injecting equipment within a specific area.
Do I have to pay?
No, NSPs provide a free service, though some equipment (such as pill filters or sterile water) may be provided at a small cost.
Do I have to return syringes?
No, you do not need to return used needles or syringes in order to be given new ones, however NSPs will dispose of your used works safely.
Where do I find a Needle Syringe Program?
Each state and territory provides a central telephone information and referral service that can provide details of your nearest Needle Syringe Program. The contact details for each state and territory are listed below:
(02) 6205 4545
1800 422 599
(02) 9361 8000
1800 422 599
(08) 8922 8399
1800 131 350
(07) 3236 2414
1800 177 833
(08) 8363 8618
1300 13 13 40
(03) 6222 7511
1800 811 994
1800 888 236
1800 198 024
Some pharmacies also sell needles and syringes if you are unable to access an NSP.