Needle and Syringe Programs were piloted in New South Wales in 1986. In 1988, NSPs were rolled out across the state on an expanded pilot basis, with focus on access, education, consumer involvement and the free supply and exchange of equipment. New South Wales now has a relatively large number of all types of NSPs: 33 primary outlets, 295 secondary outlets, 385 community pharmacy outlets and 101 vending machines, as well as numerous outreach services. Within each of the eight Area Health Services, there is usually at least one primary outlet, often incorporating an outreach component, and a range of secondary outlets.

  • Number of NSPs - 814 (plus pharmacies)
  • Syringes distributed 1999-2008 - 96,509,189
  • Average syringes per year - 9,650,919
  • Total spending 2007/8 - $9,671,362
The number of IDUs in New South Wales has decreased over the last decade. Similarly, the number of needles and syringes distributed has decreased (see Figure 29). The average frequency of injecting by IDUs in New South Wales has decreased significantly and sharing rates have slightly decreased. The prevalence of HCV has remained relatively steady and the incidence of HIV has slightly decreased and remained low.

In 2007/8, 8,289,886 sterile injection equipment units were provided in New South Wales, with 1,576,078 provided through pharmacies and 998,110 through automated dispensing machines. Vending machines cost between $2,000 and $10,000 a year to purchase and are filled by local Area Health Service staff. Pharmacists charge out-of-pocket costs of an average of $3.50 per five-pack. All NSPs, including pharmacies, operating as part of the Pharmacy Fitpack Scheme, have disposal facilities provided as part of the program. Specific funding has contributed to the operations of the Workforce Development Program and the Needle Clean Up Hotline for several years, but has been included in Table 17 in 2007/08 only as $50,000 and $30,000 respectively. The number of NSP sites in New South Wales is listed in Table 17. Table 18 reports the expenditure by financial year in 2008 dollars, unadjusted and adjusted for the consumer price index (CPI). Table 18 includes extra specific funding in 2007/8 for the workforce development at $50,000 per year and $30,000 per year on a needle clean-up hotline.

Figure 29: Number of needles and syringes distributed in New South Wales (1999-2008)

Text equivalent below for Figure 29: Number of needles and syringes distributed in New South Wales (1999-2008)

Text version of Figure 29

Top of pageFigures in this description are approximate as they have been read from the graph.

Number of syringes distributed in New South Wales:
  • 1999 - 11,000,000
  • 2000 - 12,500,000
  • 2001 - 11,500,000
  • 2002 - 9,500,000
  • 2003 - 9,000,000
  • 2004 - 9,000,000
  • 2005 - 8,750,000
  • 2006 - 8,500,000
  • 2007 - 8,250,000
  • 2008 - 8,000,000

Table 17: Number of NSP sites in New South Wales

Primary Secondary Pharmacies Vending machine sites
2007/8
33
295
385
101
2006/7
33
270
445
100

Table 18: Summary of expenditure on NSPs in New South Wales (2000/1-2007/8) ($'000)

Actual data only available for 2006/7 and 2007/8, previous years imputed.
2000/12001/22002/32003/42004/52005/62006/72007/8
Consumables - sterile injecting equipment ($'000)
2,047
1,899
2,072
2,484
2,623
2,455
2,829
2,298
Consumables - disposal equipment ($'000)
199
184
201
242
256
239
306
313
Consumables - safe sex packs ($'000)
0
0
0
0
194
181
209
218
Consumables sub-total ($'000)
2,246
2,073
2,274
2,726
3,073
2,876
3,344
2,830
NSP support - primary NSP operations ($'000)
3,265
3,888
3,870
4,214
4,704
4,622
5,530
6,210
NSP support - support for secondary NSPs ($'000)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
NSP support - transport ($'000)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
NSP support - vending machines ($'000)
0
0
0
0
0
0
129
288
NSP support sub-total ($'000)
3,265
3,888
3,870
4,214
4,704
4,622
5,659
6,498
Total (unadjusted for CPI) ($'000)
5,511
5,961
6,144
6,939
7,777
7,498
9,003
9,328
Total (adjusted for CPI) ($'000)
5,883
6,363
6,558
7,408
8,302
8,004
9,611
9,671
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