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Syringe caps to combat spread of infectious diseases
Irish Examiner 29/06/2007

By Cormac O'Keeffe

NEW colour-coded syringe caps are to be given to injecting cocaine users in a bid to combat the spread of infectious diseases.

The caps fit on to syringes used by addicts and will help distinguish their own needles from that of other users.

This will help prevent the spread of hepatitis C and HIV. The caps are to be made available at needle exchanges and methadone clinics in the next few weeks.

The caps are part of a new harm reduction campaign by voluntary drug bodies in Dublin with the assistance of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Research for the campaign showed a high level of accidental or indirect sharing of injecting equipment among cocaine addicts.

The campaign also plans to issue injecting users with their own individual kits, with all the injecting equipment they need.

The campaign was launched yesterday at a conference on cocaine at Croke Park in Dublin. It was attended by more than 300 drug workers from across the country and the new Drugs Strategy Minister Pat Carey.

Conference organisers said another 300 people wanted to attend, such was the demand for information on cocaine, but they couldn't be accommodated.

The conference was organised by the National Drugs Strategy Team and the SAOL Project, which works with female drug users in Dublin.

The voluntary agencies involved in the new harm reduction campaign are Anna Liffey Drug Project, Merchants Quay, UISCE and SAOL.

The campaign designed three sets of posters with cartoons showing cocaine users how to safely prepare and inject the drug.

A second initiative, designed by SAOL, was also launched at the conference. The cocaine resource pack shows drug workers how to help cocaine users and provides them with the tools, including a CD, to help identify the triggers for their cravings and how to cope with them.

The pack can be accessed on www.saolproject.ie.