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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 194219 Find in a Library
Title: Needle and Syringe Provision and Disposal in an Australian Regional Centre
Journal: Drug and Alcohol Review  Volume:20  Issue:4  Dated:December 2001  Pages:431-438
Author(s): Peter G. Miller
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 8
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study investigated the proportions of needles and syringes that were disposed of and discarded in comparison to those provided through needle and syringe programs (NSPs) and needle disposal bins.
Abstract: The provision of needles and syringes constitutes a major harm minimization strategy within Australia. However, the provision of needles remains controversial within the community, particularly in relation to the phenomenon of discarded needles in public locations. The goal of this study was to investigate the provision of needles and syringes in Geelong, Victoria, supplying a comparison of needles provided to needles returned through needle and syringe programs (NSPs). The study combined quantitative data obtained from a number of sources and qualitative data obtained from 60 interviews. An average of 18,337 needles were dispensed from NSPs and an average of 5,576 needles were returned to NSP sites in Geelong per month. For the year 2000, 450 needles and syringes were placed in publicly located disposal bins. On average there were 19 callouts to discarded needles per month in the Geelong region and these needles constituted 0.38 percent of the monthly average of needles provided through NSPs. This data showed that while there was a great deal of community concern about discarded needles in public venues, this concern was not based on the facts. The vast majority of needles and syringes provided in this regional center were not discarded inappropriately. Findings also showed that needle disposal bins were a successful harm minimization strategy, both because of their continued high rate of use as well as interview responses indicating a reduced number of discarded needles where such bins had been placed. The results of this study suggest that the current legislation and enforcement practices surrounding used needles and their possession should be reviewed. Tables, figures, references
Main Term(s): Needle/syringe exchange programs
Index Term(s): Australia; Drug abuse; Drug paraphernalia; Drug Policy; Hepatitis; Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS); Programs
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