The Needle Distribution operates under the principles of harm reduction; a nonjudgmental approach that recognizes drug use exists and so attempts to minimize the harms and risks associated with injection drug use. It does this by providing clean injection equipment, factual information and referrals to other services all while ensuring that service users are recognized and respected as people first. Service users are also encouraged to return their used needles, thus ensuring a proper disposal and reducing the chances of needle related accidents. A 24/7 disposal bin donated by Downtown Moncton Centre-ville Inc. is available outside the building.

 

The Necessity of a Needle Distribution Service 

In 2006-2007, 58 injection drug users were recruited by AIDS Moncton to participate in a survey as a needs assessment to guide the development of a Needle Distribution Service. The results showed that:

  •  50% (29 participants) were aged 29 or under
  •  57% (33 participants) injected daily
  • 69% (40 participants) re-used their needles
  • 28% did not clean their needles at all
  • 41% cleaned them with water or bleach (neither of which kills HCV)
  • 74% had shared needles and 85% had shared spoons, swabs and water

Of the 52/58 people tested for Hepatitis C and HIV:

  • 58% (30 participants) had Hepatitis C
  • 4% (2 participants) had HIV
  • 17% (9 participants) had Hepatitis C and HIV [co-infected]
  • Almost all said they became infected by sharing needles

The participants were asked how they disposed of their dirty needles. The results showed that:

  • 55% (32 participants) disposed of needles in the garbage*
  • 31% (18 participants) disposed of needles in manholes
  • 5% (3 participants) disposed of needles in the street
  • Only 5 participants out of the 58 recruited, disposed of needles in sharps containers.

* In 2010, the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation had an average of about 16 needle puncture injuries per month

“I think you guys are the best thing that’s ever happened to us. People are healthier now. They can get cleans rigs and stuff. Even my veins are in better shape than they’ve been for years. I know guys who were using the same needle 40 or 50 times.”
“I’m very, very satisfied with the service here. Everyone’s been very helpful and non-judgmental. It’s already uncomfortable to have to do this so you don’t want to feel judged. But everybody is great here and I like that it’s private and confidential.”