The bulk of people who inject coming into NSP are either using tourniquets, or have got to the stage where they’re groin injecting because they say they say they ‘have no veins left’. But from my experience most people lack basic knowledge on how to correctly use a tourniquet.
I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet at the moment (for any of you that have met me, I’m sure that mental image is a great one). This happens a lot, I get very focused on one area of advice and hammer it home in everyone I see. This week it’s convincing people to take enough needles, and making sure they have spare.
Whenever I move jobs to a new exchange, or if I’m seeing someone I’ve never worked with before then swabbing is normally the first bit of advice I give. Mainly I do it as a trust builder, if someone’s never met me before then they have no frame of reference on my abilities or knowledge. Plus it seems that anywhere I go, even though this is the most basic of the harm reduction messages I use, that no one seems to have been giving it.
In the previous article I spoke about the differences between ‘bad’ acids like lemon juice and good commercially available acids. In this short article I’m going to explain the differences between the two main acids available in needle exchanges to people who inject, along with what advice we should be giving people who are using them.
Not all acids are created equal, but they do all have risks. ‘Brown’ heroin (ie Afghan heroin sold in Europe) and crack cocaine both require the user to ‘cook down’ their drug with an acidifier if they are going to be injected. But which are the best options and what’s the advice that we should be giving along with them?