So foil is now legal in the UK (since September 5th), needle programmes across the country are now (hopefully) stocking it and offering it as a possible tool for change or early engagement route for people who smoke rather than inject their drug of choice. So here’s a bit of advice for those workers giving it out.
One of the many roles of a needle programme is supporting people to move away from injecting to a safer route of administration, this is of course where foil is most likely to be used as a tool for most of us. But getting someone who injects to just move over to smoking is a pretty hard sell so bear these points in mind:
Of course, if someone has been injecting for a while then they may be out of practice with smoking, and the worries they have about smoking being more expensive might prevent them from even trying it. The perception has always been that injecting is more cost effective, but bear in mind that if someone is using an acidifier (Citric or VitC) to prep their injection they are probably using too much and destroying some of their drug. That said though, it’s important to make sure we make smoking as cost effective as possible to help encourage the change. The video below shows how to make the foil ‘pipe’ to maximise the amount of drug you can ‘recycle’ from reside. I’d recommend all drugs workers to be familiar with making these.
There are a few myths connected with foil, one of the most mentioned ones (this even made it’s way into some leaflets) is that you have to ‘burn’ a residue off the foil before smoking from it as this is ‘poisonous’, for some reason a lot of people think it’s plastic. Think about this for a moment…
… a poisonous coating on something that is put on food, and then in an oven at high temperatures. Doesn’t really make sense when you think it through does it. There is a shiny side and a dull side on foil, but this is because during the process for making foil it goes over a roller at high speed, this polishes one side. On domestic foil there is a slight palm oil residue (again from the rollers) but this is likely harmless. On the foil that Exchange Supplies produce there is no oil residue. Burning foil before using it will actually make it more brittle.
Foil is an important and logical addition to the equipment we use in needle programmes, not everyone will use it, but having a stock of it available can reduce a few peoples instances of injecting.