Needle and syringe programs: your questions answered

Why aren't retractable needles and syringes available to injecting drug users?

Page last updated: 2005

There has been much debate around the use of retractable needles and syringes by injecting drugs users in response to community concerns about the risk of injury (including the risk of blood borne virus transmission) from inappropriately discarded needles and syringes in public places.

The current retractable needle and syringe technology available is aimed at use in the clinical setting. When used by injecting drug users the technology was found to have limitations. Until these technical limitations are addressed, retractable needles and syringes are not suitable for use by injecting drug users.

There is currently no retractable needle and syringe available that is suitable for use by injecting drug users.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia:

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia will continue to support the Needle and Syringe Program so as to reduce harm from illicit drugs use in Australia. The Guild is committed to examining all options to protect both injecting drug users and the wider community from blood borne disease associated with unhygienic injecting practices such as syringe sharing and unsafe disposal.