With the controversial introduction of a new 1mm fit to Victorian Needle Syringe Programs, YoDAA has put together a harm reduction resource for Youth AOD workers supporting young people who inject substances.
Recent changes to 1 ml Terumo fits (needle combined with a syringe) that are supplied by Needle Syringe Programs (NSPs) in Victoria have prompted NSP providers, AOD peak bodies & Youth AOD workers to voice concerns about the quality and safety of the new fit.
YoDAA has put together these tips for clinicians working with young people who inject substances and may be impacted by the change.
Talk to young people about the change
Rumour always spreads faster than sound accurate information! Follow the links to read up on the new fits yourself and begin a conversation with young people you work with.
Some NSP’s (including Harm Reduction Victoria) are refusing to stock the new needle and finding ways to continue to supply the old one that young people will be more familiar with. Old stock may still be available at some NSP’s who are still to transition. Support young people to stockpile sterile fits and plan for what they will do when this supply changes.
The new fits are packaged in sterile paper (not plastic). If the packet becomes wet the whole fit is then considered unsterile. Encourage young people to store their fits in something waterproof (not the paper bag issued by most NSP’s)
Mix it up
Young people who use the interior of the plastic packet to mix up will need to change their practice. Talk about it early & make plans for safe ways to mix up. (ie: talk about sourcing sterile or disposable spoons.)
See change as an opportunity
Now could be a great time to revisit a conversation about Opiate Substitution Therapy (OST) or other ways of using the same substance that don’t involve injecting (eg: smoking ice or taking oral forms of opiates).
Revisit basic skills
Injecting safely is possible with a wide variety of fits and medical equipment (not just the old fit) however takes practice, knowledge and confidence. Refresh your knowledge with the Complete guide to injecting safely, Shooting up Safely & How small is the hep C virus (Video).
Join Harm Reduction Victoria in advocating for equitable access to good quality sterile injecting equipment. Folow the link to read more about their campaign.
Still got questions? YoDAA would love to hear from you!
This article originally appeared on the YoDAA website: http://yodaa.org.au/workers/news/7-new-tips-safer-injecting