About this release
This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) presents information on injecting equipment provision (IEP). This includes the number of outlets, attendances and the types of injecting equipment distributed to people who used illicit drugs (including Novel Psychoactive Substances and Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs) in Scotland in 2022/23.
- There were 330 IEP outlets in Scotland. This was a 3% increase compared to 2021/22.
- There were 132,447 attendances reported by IEP outlets, 9% fewer than in 2021/22 (146,137). There has been a gradual decrease in attendances each year since 2014/15 (328,329 attendances).
- Approximately 2.3 million needles and syringes were distributed. This was 5% lower than in 2021/22 (approximately 2.5 million) and continues the decreasing trend observed over the last seven years (2015/16: approximately 4.7 million).
- Wipes or swabs (approximately 2.1 million), foil (approximately 1.8 million) and citric acid or vitamin C (approximately 1.7 million) were the most distributed items of other injecting equipment. The numbers of foil items increased by 4% compared to the previous year, whilst fewer items of wipes or swabs, and citric acid or vitamin C were distributed than in 2021/22 (approximately 2.2 million wipes or swaps and 1.8 million citric acid or vitamin C).
- Following the implementation of COVID-19 mitigation measures (for example, temporary changes in the availability of IEP services due to staff absence and asking service users to attend IEP services less often), an increase in the number of needles and syringes distributed per attendance was seen in 2020/21 (16.8). The number of needles and syringes distributed per attendance continued to be roughly the same in 2021/22 (16.7) and 2022/23 (17.6).
The purpose of injecting equipment provision is harm reduction. The provision of injecting equipment is effective in reducing injecting risk behaviours in people who use drugs. This intervention helps prevent the transmission of blood borne viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV among people who inject drugs.
IEP outlets are asked to report on the number of attendances, the number of needles and syringes, and items of other injecting equipment distributed. PHS are aware of some issues with data quality and completeness due to inconsistencies in reporting across NHS Boards. For more details, see Appendices A1.1 and A1.2 in the full report available from the publication page.
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