Needle and Syringe Programs have been operational in the Australian Capital Territory since 1989. The Australian Capital Territory has two primary outlets (both operated by DIRECTIONS ACT), seven secondary outlets (including one mobile outreach service), 31 pharmacy based outlets, and four vending machines. Many NSPs have disposal facilities, with the exception of approximately half of the pharmacy NSPs. In addition, primary outlets provide a large range of ancillary services including information, education, referral, disposal and condoms. There is no discount for people who return packs to pharmacies.

  • Number of NSPs - 44 (including pharmacies)
  • Syringes distributed 1999-2008 - 4,989,520
  • Average syringes per year - 498,952
  • Total spending 2007/8 - $1,228,514
The proportion of all Australian IDUs that reside in the Australian Capital Territory has remained steady over the last decade, as has the distribution of needles and syringes (see Figure 24). The average frequency of injecting by IDUs in the Australian Capital Territory has decreased but sharing rates have slightly increased. The prevalence of HCV has significantly increased while HIV has remained low.

In 2007/8, 575,779 sterile needles and syringes were provided in the Australian Capital Territory: 103,000 were provided through pharmacies, 46,024 through vending machines. Vending machines are provided in the Australian Capital Territory under a commercial arrangement including lease of the machines and provision of stock. Pharmacists charge on average $2 per pharmacy pack sold. The number of NSP sites in the Australian Capital Territory is listed in Table 13. Table 14 reports the expenditure by financial year in 2008 dollars, unadjusted and adjusted for the consumer price index (CPI). As part of this spending, extra specific funding for the sector during 2007/8 is listed in Table 15.

Figure 24: Number of needles and syringes distributed in the Australian Capital Territory (1999-2008)

Text equivalent below for Figure 24: Number of needles and syringes distributed in the Australian Capital Territory (1999-2008)Top of page

Text version of Figure 24

Figures in this description are approximate as they have been read from the graph.

Number of syringes distributed in the Australian Capital Territory:
    • 1999 - 500,000
    • 2000 - 600,000
    • 2001 - 540,000
    • 2002 - 460,000
    • 2003 - 480,000
    • 2004 - 490,000
    • 2005 - 470,000
    • 2006 - 460,000
    • 2007 - 500,000
    • 2008 - 500,000

Table 13: Number of NSP sites in the Australian Capital Territory

Primary Secondary Vending machine sites
2007
2
7
4
2006
2
9
4
2005
2
9
2004
2
9
2003
2
9
2002
2
9
2001
2
9

Table 14: Summary of expenditure in Australian Capital Territory NSPs (2000/1- 2007/8)

2000/12001/22002/32003/42004/52005/62006/72007/8
Consumables - sterile injecting equipment ($'000)
312
229
276
288
306
341
388
411
Consumables - disposal equipment ($'000)
25
19
61
32
36
37
39
42
Consumables sub-total ($'000)
337
247
337
320
343
378
427
453
NSP support - primary NSP operations ($'000)
152
199
236
236
280
283
324
619
NSP support - support for secondary NSPs ($'000)
0
64
55
48
58
60
50
47
NSP support - transport ($'000)
0
2
4
7
5
5
5
2
NSP support - vending machines ($'000)
0
0
0
0
0
19
59
63
NSP support sub-total ($'000)
152
265
296
291
343
366
438
732
Total (unadjusted for CPI) ($'000)
489
512
633
611
686
744
865
1,185
Total in 2008 (adjusted for CPI) ($'000)
618
628
753
710
777
820
924
1,229
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Table 15: Additional expenditure on NSPs in the Australian Capital Territory (2007/8)

Table 15 is presented as a list in this HTML version for accessibility reasons.
  • Peer support and advocacy - $95,000
  • Sharps hotline responses - $120,000
  • Sharps inspection patrols of Syringe Vending Machines' (SVM) surrounding areas - $13,000
  • Health info leaflet inserts in SVM fitpacks - $500
  • Admin and policy support - $10,000
  • Total - $238,500
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