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NICE guidance promotes benefits of NSPs

In a bid to reduce the transmission of blood-borne viruses among injecting drug users, NICE has published guidance on the optimal provision of needle and syringe programmes

In a bid to reduce the transmission of blood-borne viruses among injecting drug users, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published guidance on the optimal provision of needle and syringe programmes (NSPs). The guidance highlights the role these programmes can play in tackling the spread of viruses, including Hepatitis C and HIV, and helping drug users to access further treatment.

NSPs provide sterile injecting equipment and advice on safer injecting practices and appropriate disposal techniques.

The guidance highlights the importance of NSPs and explains how they can operate effectively by increasing accessibility in terms of opening times, locations and the services they provide. 

Recommendations include encouraging people who inject drugs to use services which aim to reduce the harms associated with injecting drug use, assisting them to stop using drugs or to switch to non-injecting methods like opioid substitution therapy, and addressing their other health needs.

It suggests advising local health authorities on how to develop plans to ensure NSPs meet local need and offer integrated care pathways for people who inject drugs. Further, it recommends helping NSP providers to develop plans for needle and syringe disposal and gives guidance on the provision of needles, syringes and other injecting equipment to people who inject drugs.

It also ensures that people who use NSPs are provided with sharps bins and advice on how to dispose of needles and syringes safely.

11th March 2009

From: Healthcare

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