Safeloc kits – reducing harm in Cardiff
Following reports last year of used needles being found discarded on the streets, our Taith Drug and Alcohol Service and our partners responded by giving out Safeloc kits to service users in Cardiff. This has led to a significant increase in the number of needles being returned and safely disposed of.
Safelocs are small hard plastic containers that can be used to safely dispose of used needles. Once placed in the Safeloc, the needle becomes trapped and the tip is broken – meaning that the needle is securely stored and unable to be used again rendering it useless. Therefore, the risk of harm to others is reduced, including the potential spread of Blood Borne Virus (BBV) infections. Even if the Safeloc with a needle inside is discarded in a public place, a member of the public or street cleaner would be able to pick it up and dispose of it without risk of injury.
The kits are having a fantastic impact in the local area. In fact, since they were introduced, there has been a 31% increase in the amount of needles issued in Cardiff being safely returned.
On top of this, the new kits have meant that there have been less reports of discarded unused equipment being found. Previously kits would contain 10 units of each piece of equipment (i.e. 10 needles, 10 swabs, 10 spoons and filters, etc.), as well as a larger container for discarding used equipment. People would often request a kit and use only a small amount of the equipment before discarding the unused items. This increased the cost of the kits and led to litter being discarded in and around the city, often unsafely.
The new kits contain one of everything required to inject safely, including a Safeloc container, and are proving to be cost effective as all of the equipment is being used. Simultaneously they are making a significant impact in reducing harm to both service users and the public in the city.