NEEDLE DISTRIBUTION SERVICE
Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority’s (SLFNHA) Needle Distribution Service is a branch of the Regional Wellness Response Program (RWRP), which was initiated to respond to priority areas of substance abuse and blood-borne infections.
It is a resource available to all 33 First Nations communities served by SLFNHA. For a list of communities, view our map.
- Offers supportive consultation to those who would like to develop community-based Needle Distribution Programs
- Provides a guideline manual to assist with program operation
- Packages sterile injection drug using equipment into individual kits
- Can provide other safe drug using equipment upon request (i.e. snorting kits)
- Arranges shipping to communities
- Is of no cost to the community
Community-based programs can then give out kits to their patients and/or clients. Programs can operate out of nursing stations, Band Offices, community agencies, addiction treatment centres, or elsewhere to increase accessibility to safe equipment.
Benefits of a Needle Distribution Program
- Makes it more likely for equipment to be used for individual use only and not shared
- Prevents unsafe drug using alternatives
- Helps prevent the spread of blood-borne infections (e.g. HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C) and other health related harms
- Vital link to health care and social services such as addiction treatment which may facilitate positive health and behaviour change
- Education on safer drug using practices, importance of using new sterile needles for each injection, safe disposal methods, risks of sharing needles or other drug preparation equipment etc.
- Provides sharps containers for safe disposal reducing the number of used needles discarded in a community
- Allows for the development of a safe system to pick up used equipment discarded improperly in a community
- Uses a respectful and non-judgemental approach
- Provides as many kits as requested, does not limit access and does not operate using a “one-for-one” exchange
- Allows for education on transmission of blood-borne infections via any equipment used for injection and not just needles
- People use needles to inject drugs because they have an addiction
- Recovery from addiction is a process. Not everyone is able or ready to change
- Some think about change but continue to use, some attempt to stop but find it difficult to stay stopped, and abstinence for some may never be
- Rather than expecting abstinence, a harm reduction approach meets people where they are at. The goal is to reduce harm, provide quality care and to promote small steps forward towards healthy living free of drugs
- A Needle Distribution Program is one example of an effective public health approach to reduce drug-related harm. The aim is to help keep individuals, families and communities safe
If your community would like to access this service, please contact us (see contact info on the right).
A service introduction package will be mailed out to include: Community-Based Needle Distribution Program Guidelines (also available to download in the menu on the right) and additional forms for completion / return before service provision.
Once your community-based program has been set-up, supplies then will be shipped upon order.