‘No one likes using the dirties: A study into the re-use of injecting equipment in Australia’ explores the complex and thoughtful decisions people who inject drugs make about accessing injecting equipment and injecting drugs.
Australia has some of the highest coverage of needle and syringe programs and low cost injecting equipment in the world, yet people who inject drugs continue to share and re-use injecting equipment in unacceptably high numbers. Many studies have looked at prevalence, rates and risk factors in relation to sharing of injecting equipment, but few have gone into depth to try to understand why this continues or the circumstances in which people sometimes share injecting equipment. This study may be the first in which peer researchers explore people’s use of drugs from the perspective of people who inject drugs themselves.
The study reveals people who inject drugs face many barriers to accessing and keeping injecting equipment. As a result, they often develop complex ways they make decisions about who they may share equipment with, and why they may or may not share or re-use injecting equipment in specific circumstances. It also shows us that people who use drugs come up with highly resourceful strategies to protect themselves, their partners, friends, families and even the broader community of people who inject drugs from the harms that concern them.
‘No one likes using the dirties’ is one step to better understand how and why sharing occurs in Australia and how we may remove some of the barriers that impact on access to injecting equipment.