Needle Exchange is a harm reduction method that is offered and available at our ITSMS hub and also through a large number of pharmacies across Thurrock.

Needle Exchange was first introduced in England in 1985 in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It is a facility where injecting drug users can obtain sterile injecting equipment and also dispose of used needles in a responsible, hygienic and safe manner.

As well as providing clean needles, a needle exchange scheme also offers the opportunity for users to learn about safe injecting practises, equipment disposal, access into treatment services and education on drug use in general. It is a chance for substance users who are not currently in treatment to engage with someone who can provide advice and information that can reduce risks of harm.

These services have a significant impact in reducing the risk of spreading blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis and HIV in Thurrock, and are also available to steroid users.

As well as safer injecting information, advice and general healthcare assessments, specialist needle exchange programmes are available to provide access to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV testing along with Hepatitis B vaccination. They also offer referral to prescribing and other health services including Hepatitis C and HIV treatment together with wound care advice and treatment.

Services are available where you see the sign