Thank you for raising awareness of the problem of needle litter in Burngreave [in ‘Wardens at the sharp end’ November 2005]. I have spoken to the Burngreave Drugs Project (BDP) and the Wardens’ manager to suggest a ‘needles protocol’ is drawn up, so that the Wardens provide information about numbers of needles found by location, so that BDP can request the Sharp Action team to work effectively in the area.
The majority of drug users in Burngreave are not injecting heroin but are users of khat, crack, cannabis and alcohol. People often think the only treatment available for heroin users is a methadone script or rehab and are often unaware of how they can be helped.
The Burngreave Drug Project can help residents access complementary therapies including ear acupuncture, shiatsu and Indian head massage and support residents to access structured drug and alcohol counselling and other support services. Most importantly this project can work with people who may not be ready to think about stopping or reducing their drug use and help them use drugs or alcohol as safely as possible.
Those people injecting drugs may need help to look after their own health. They can get free Hepatitis A and B immunisation as well as testing for HIV and Hepatitis C through Rockingham Drug Project in the city centre, where they can also get advice and support from drugs workers and nurses on safer injecting and wound care. Free overdose training is also available through the Safer Communities Partnership to families and friends of drug users and to users themselves.
We are all committed to reducing harm from substance misuse and work closely together.
Best wishes Magda Boo, Safer Communities Partnership
Substance Misuse Section (formerly the Drug Action Team)