Turning Point responds to NICE updated guidelines on the provision of needle and syringe programmes

News item posted: 19 June 2017

In response to the updated public health guidelines on the provision of needle and syringe programmes for adults and young people released by NICE today, Selina Douglas, Managing Director for Turning Point's Substance Misuse services said;

"We welcome the updated NICE guidelines published today, especially the focus on services for image and performance enhancing drug users, such as steroids. Turning Point provide needle exchange in over 50 locations across England with some, such as our South Westminster Smart Muscle service, Wakefield and Birmingham services showing a marked increase in the number of needle exchange clients using Steroids or IPEDs over the past few years.

The substance misuse field is not static and we need to be prepared to adapt to the needs of our users to ensure that they move towards recovery. Needle Exchanges are often a first point of contact for individuals into services and have been shown to have a significant impact on blood-borne viruses."

Roy Jones, Team Leader at Turning Point's South Westminster Drug and Alcohol service, who have seen an increase in the number of people using IEDs accessing the service said;

"Young men are becoming increasingly focussed on body image, there is a certain 'look' within the media and for many they find that the gym is not having the desired results quick enough. Many of the people we see are injecting naïve and it is important that they can seek advice or guidance in an environment where they are not judged."

Stan, from London, accesses Turning Point's Needle Exchange service at South Westminster Drug and Alcohol Service;

"I've been using the Smart Muscle service at Turning Point's SWDAS for around 18 months now. To me, it's really important to have a service where people can not only access clean needles but advice. There are a lot of people in Soho who are using steroids, people want to look good. What is important is that people can access advice and clean needles in a non-judgemental environment. If this service wasn't available you would have a lot of people picking up advice and steroids in gyms, where you don't know what you are getting. People will use steroids regardless, this just makes it safer."