General Info

When preparing for any IV use, try to get into good work habits – clean the areas where you will be working, wash your hands, swab your spoons, if you have no sterile water around boil some up in a saucepan (at least 10 mins boiling time will kill bacteria). It only takes a few minutes, and could prevent you having a dirty taste or getting an infection. Be kind to your body!

It’s not illegal to have new, unused syringes or needles in New Zealand, as long as you have proof of purchase – a stamped DHDP bag is enough – and do not admit to using them for the purpose of administering illicit drugs. Other countries have different laws so check them out before you go overseas. In NZ the chances of getting busted for a used syringe are pretty small.

Unless you get caught in the act most cops, wont be bothered with the paper work and cost of the scientific analysis required to get you convicted. Don’t give them the opportunity though – rinse out your syringe once you’ve had your taste. Besides, it only takes a day of sitting in warm temperatures for an old, unrinsed syringe to start to stink. If you do happen to be charged with possession of a needle and syringe say nothing. Remember the reversal of the onus of proof means the police have to prove you didn't get the needles/syringes from a authorised outlet.

Don’t expect other people to have spare, clean fits either. Never trust a syringe that isn’t in an unopened packet, even if you’re told ”it’s only been used for measuring out”. Your health is your own responsibility, and in the end, the only person you can truly trust 100% is you. Waiting the extra few minutes while someone goes to the Exchange (you could even cook up while you’re waiting) isn’t going to kill you, but some of the diseases you can catch by not using a new fit definitely will.

Returns Canisters
Every time you buy/swap a new lot of syringes, get yourself a returns canister. They’re free and are a safe place to keep your old used syringes until next time you call into the Needle Exchange. Don’t throw your old fits out in the rubbish – you get a cheaper deal by returning them and it’s easy for rubbish bags to get ripped open by neighbourhood dogs, which will give you and your household a bad reputation and the whole street will end up knowing what you get up to!

Kids, even though they get educated at school these days about not picking up syringes, still pick them up out of curiosity. It’s very easy for them to get a needle stick injury and end up with Hep C or HIV/AIDS. It’s the sort of bad press none of us needs. So please bring all your used gear back to the exchange.

Filters are specifically designed to remove impurities and can drastically reduce the amount of harmful material and contaminants in your drugs, such as the chalk and wax in pills that are not designed for IV use, plant matter in poppies, and unwanted by-products in drugs made in backyard labs, like Speed and Homebake Herion. Unfiltered drugs can lead to “dirty tastes”, localised swellings and infections, abscesses, collapsed veins, renal (kidney) failure, Endocarditis (pus on your heart!), and a whole lot of other nasties. Cigarette filters, cotton buds and tampons contain things like glass fibers, bleach and even fungi so don’t use them (if using cigarette filters get the blue pack Boomerang filters as they are made from wood pulp). Wheel filters are sterile and are the safest, most effective way of filtering out contaminants and impurities from your drugs.

For more information of filters visit our section on filters here also your local Needle Exchange will also be able to advise you on this.

Swabs are free to all our clients. If you are injecting it is strongly recommended that you use them to clean the injection site. They are also useful for cleaning spoons and other surfaces that might come into contact with anything that will end up in a syringe. Remember to allow anything you’ve wiped with them to “air dry” (especially your skin) - don’t ruin your newly sterile surface or spoon by wiping it with a skoady old tea towel! The more you use swabs, the more uses you’ll find for them.