For location of Needle and Syringe Programs in Queensland scroll to the bottom of the page or click here
It is Queensland Government policy to reduce the harms associated with injecting drug use without condoning such drug use. One of the significant harms associated with injecting drug use is the transmission of blood borne viral infections such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B (HBV) & C (HCV).
Background to Needle and Syringe Programs
In 1985 the National Drugs Summit identified that injecting drug use posed a significant risk for the transmission of HIV. The supply of sterile injecting equipment to injecting drug users was identified as the appropriate harm reduction strategy.
The Queensland Government introduced Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) soon afterwards. The programs supply sterile injecting equipment while incorporating health promotion strategies aimed at improving the health of injecting drug users and reducing risk behaviours associated with injecting drug use. A focus of the program has been developing partnerships with the community to respond to community concerns such as inappropriate disposal of used injecting equipment.
The most significant public health risk associated with injecting drug use is the transmission of blood-borne viral infections (HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C) through the sharing of needles, syringes and other injecting equipment. Exposure to blood-borne viral infection is of concern for:
injecting drug users (IDUs)
the sexual partners of IDUs
the children of IDUs, and the children of their sexual partners, and
the general population
It is recognised that the most common means by which blood-borne viral infections are spread in the community is through the sharing of contaminated injecting equipment, unprotected sexual activity and medically acquired infections. It has been clearly established that infection of IDUs constitutes a significant pathway for the spread of blood-borne viral infections to the general community.
It is therefore critical that IDUs have easy, safe and confidential access to sterile injecting equipment.
There is ample evidence that ready access to sterile injecting equipment does not cause an increase either in the number of IDUs or in the prevalence of injecting drug use in the community. In fact, some studies have indicated that the establishment of Needle and Syringe Programs has led to a decrease in the number of injectors by bringing them into contact with treatment services earlier in their drug using careers (Heimer, 1998, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 15(3):183-191).
Making sterile injecting equipment available is a public health strategy that does not condone illicit drug use but rather complements a range of strategies (both public health and treatment oriented) for the reduction of illicit drug use and associated harms.
In order to ensure that both unsafe disposal of used injecting equipment in public spaces and community needle stick injuries are minimised, safe disposal education and disposal facilities are mandatory components of all NSPs.
The aim of the Queensland Needle & Syringe Program is to reduce the spread of blood borne viral infections (BBVI) among injecting drug users (IDUs), and thereby the general community.
The objectives of the program are to:
As one of Australia’s primary healthcare providers, pharmacy plays a vital role in assisting the community to maintain optimum health. This includes supporting those members of the community who manage their health concerns with medication and injecting equipment. Therefore, community pharmacies are well placed to provide safe disposal options for the community.
The Pharmacy Disposal Initiative (PDI) provides a large network of pharmacies with 19 litre disposal units. These units are located within the store to ensure accessibility for community members.
Ask your pharmacy if they have a disposal unit in store or for further information about the PDI, contact the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch on 3831 3788.
The Queensland Needle and Syringe Program (QNSP) has a range of publications available to NSP staff, health and allied workers, and the general public, including:
Printed and electronic versions
Electonic copies only
Printed copies only
QNSP printed publications are available from the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS). To place an order phone +61-7-3837 5989 or Regional Freecall 1800 177 833.
Queensland Needle and Syringe Program Management Unit
Telephone: +61-7-3328 9801
Facsimile: +61-7-3328 9804