A new search engine for people to find information about needle and syringe services in their area has been launched by With You.
Accessible via the organisation’s website, the tool provides full details of local NSPs sorted by postcode.
The charity has also released a new series of online harm reduction advice, including on safer injecting, responding to an overdose, using naloxone correctly, and safer use of other drugs such powder and crack cocaine and steroids. It also offers advice to those worried about someone else’s drug use.
NSP services were ‘often the first step on the road to accessing treatment’, said With You volunteer Richard Townsend. ‘With the restrictions of the pandemic it can be really hard to know what’s open and what isn’t. At the same time the enforced isolation has led to more people using drugs on their own, so I think this new needle and syringe exchange finder will be really helpful for a lot of people.’
‘When we first went into lockdown, our data showed the number of people visiting pharmacies or specialist services for new syringe packs was down by 50 per cent,’ said With You’s deputy chief executive Laura Bunt. ‘We were concerned as this may mean many people were re-using equipment and not getting advice to help reduce the risk of harm. We know people are much more likely to use drugs alone at the moment due to social distancing measures, meaning there is less likely to be someone else present to call the emergency services if something goes wrong. Our new find a needle and syringe service can help many more people access the equipment and support they need, while our new online advice will help keep them as safe as possible.
‘Drug related deaths are at record levels in the UK, while the enforced isolation of the pandemic has been really tough on some people, with drugs offering an escape,’ she continued. ‘This is about following the evidence of what works while treating people who use drugs with compassion.’
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