What is a Needle Exchange Program?
A Needle Exchange Program (NEP) is a confidential and free program that offers the supplies one needs to be able to inject safely and maintain sterility. The supplies are often referred to as “site”. Most of our clinics and pharmacies provide harm reduction supplies to anyone who needs them. We also accept and encourage the return of used supplies.
What supplies can I get through the Needle Exchange Program?
Can I bring my used supplies back to the clinic?
CATC sites will accept and provide individuals with the means of disposing of their used supplies safely. Please call ahead and make sure the clinic you are planning on visiting does – if not, they can redirect you to the nearest site drop off. Cities have Site Drop Off Bins around them as well, most frequently located in their downtown core.
Is there a program like this but for smoking?
Yes, that program is called Safe Inhalation Program (SIP). The majority of the clinics/pharmacy sites offer this as well. Like NEP, the SIP program is confidential and free. It provides the supplies one needs to be able to smoke safely and maintain sterility.
What supplies can I get through the Safe Inhalation Program?
- Bowl Pipes
- Push Sticks
What is the benefit of these programs?
NEP has been available in some parts of Canada since 1989 and has positively effected Canadian communities by:
- Increasing the likelihood that individuals will connect with treatment centres
- Reducing needle sharing and as such, reduces the rate of infectious disease transmission (i.e. Hepatitis C and HIV)
- Reducing poor health outcomes related to abscesses, and sepsis (blood infections) commonly associated with using “dirty needles”