If you inject drugs

It's important to use fresh, clean equipment every time you inject.

Injecting equipment is an essential public health service and should be made available to you.

Everyone who uses drugs or knows someone who uses drugs should make sure they have a Naloxone kit available.

If you can’t get new equipment, as a last resort, make sure existing injecting equipment is cleaned using the three-container method. Don't share these cups.

Information on how to do this can be found on this Scottish Drugs Forum leaflet: Do you inject drugs (PDF, 540 KB) or this video about cleaning your equipment.

More harm reduction information if you inject drugs.

About Naloxone

Naloxone is a medicine which can temporarily reverse the effect of an opioid overdose.

It should be given to any person suspected of experiencing an overdose where opioids such as heroin or methadone are involved.

Naloxone is very easy to administer. You can learn more about administering naloxone in a free e-learning module Overdose Prevention, Intervention and Naloxone or get more information from this Scottish Drugs Forum's booklet: Naloxone can be a lifesaver (PDF, 540 KB).

Even if it doesn’t help, it’ll do no harm.

How to get naloxone

Naloxone can be collected from local injecting equipment provider services and pharmacies. There is also a postal service for naloxone operating in some areas.

Many local needle exchange services are still open, but you may have to wait longer than is normal. Aim to collect enough equipment for 14 days, so you only need to wait once every 2 weeks.

Naloxone can be prescribed free to individuals and family members, ask your local drug service, injecting equipment provider or pharmacy about it if you’re in contact with anyone who may be at risk of opioid overdoses.

Contacting your equipment provider

Visit our map of drugs and alcohol services, injecting equipment providers and pharmacy services operating across Scotland. Many will dispense naloxone. Remember to check ahead to be sure they have naloxone in stock.

If your service is closed they may have moved to a new delivery system online or a telephone ordering system. Your order is then posted to you. Some outreach services are also operating.

What to avoid

Never mix opioids alcohol, prescription drugs, such as gabapentin and benzodiazepines (valium) with other depressants or downers.

All of these drugs can depress breathing and carry an especially high risk of overdose.

Make sure you know the symptoms of an overdose.

Caring for wounds

You can get dressings free at your local pharmacy under minor ailments. If it’s possible, stock up from your local pharmacy or healthcare appointments if or when you attend.

Always try to cover your wound using a simple clean dressing such as meopore or premierpore.

Aim to leave a wound covered for at least 7 days. Change your dressing every 7 days and whenever it is leaking, has become dirty or has fallen off.

Infected wounds

Signs of wound infection include:

  • heat, redness or swelling around the wound that is getting worse
  • a wound that is wetter than before
  • a wound that is more painful
  • more yellow, green or black in the wound than before
  • bigger or deeper wound
  • a wound with a bad smell

If you think your wound is getting worse, draw a circle around it and watch it closely. If it is getting bigger or not getting better or you feel unwell, phone your GP or 111 for advice.

More information on preventing bacterial infections and wound hygiene is available from the Scottish Drugs Forum.