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NLM AIDSLINE
Provision of needles and syringes to injecting drug users (IDU) from pharmacies in Victoria.
Mathews G; Batchelor M; Carswell P; Marcon N; Department of Health and
December 30, 1994
Annu Conf Australas Soc HIV Med. 1993 Oct 28-30;5:87 (poster no. 25).

Both the Victorian Needle and Syringe Exchange Program (NSEP) and Pharmacy Program provide sterile injecting equipment to Injecting Drug Users (IDU). The broad aim of the program is to prevent the transmission of HIV amongst IDU and from IDU to the broader community. Although the NSEP has been successful in reaching a large number of IDU (70,871 visits and 1,326,000 needles distributed in 1992) this program does not meet the needs of all IDU. Consequently the selling of needles and syringes in pharmacies to IDU ensures that more IDU have access to clean needles and syringes. In December 1991, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victorian Branch) and the Department of Health and Community Services (DHCS) introduced a portable plastic container (Fitpack) for the sale of needles and syringes. These packs contain either 3, 5 or 10 needles and are sold in pharmacies throughout Victoria. The Fitpack provides a safe means of storage and disposal for needles and syringes. The sale of needles and syringes in Fitpacks represents a significant component of overall pharmacy sales (1,132,000 needles and syringes). Fitpack sales have increased steadily since the program's inception in 1991. Currently 308,000 needles and syringes are sold annually in the form of a Fitpack. Monitoring of the Fitpack Program has enabled the DHCS to determine the number of pharmacists selling Fitpacks and to contrast sales patterns between metropolitan and country pharmacists.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/*PREVENTION & CONTROL/ TRANSMISSION Health Services Needs and Demand/STATISTICS & NUMER DATA Human HIV Infections/*PREVENTION & CONTROL/TRANSMISSION Needle Sharing/*ADVERSE EFFECTS/STATISTICS & NUMER DATA *Pharmaceutical Services/STATISTICS & NUMER DATA Substance Abuse, Intravenous/COMPLICATIONS/EPIDEMIOLOGY/ *REHABILITATION *Syringes Victoria/EPIDEMIOLOGY ABSTRACT

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