New challenges for agency based syringe exchange schemes : analysis of 11 years of data (1991–2001) in Merseyside and Cheshire, United Kingdom / Jim McVeigh, Caryl Beynon, Mark A. Bellis. - (International Journal of Drug Policy (2003) 5-6 (December); p. 399-405)
The Merseyside and Cheshire Drug Monitoring Unit has collected attributable data on agency based syringe exchange program (SEP) clients between 1991 and 2001, representing 14,491 individual injectors. On first presentation to a SEP, clients provide information relating to their drug use and drug service contact. Details relating to all subsequent syringe transactions are also recorded. Over 206,000 transactions took place, accounting for 6,595,099 syringes provided and an estimated 7,184,727 returns.
There was a sixfold increase in the number of new clients using anabolic steroids (P<0.001) with these users currently constituting the largest group of new clients. The reverse is true for new heroin using clients who have significantly declined over the same period (P<0.05). Service utilisation by opiate and stimulant users has changed over time. Opiate users have attended SEP significantly less frequently (P<0.01) but obtain greater quantities of injecting equipment at each attendance (P<0.001). While the visit rate for stimulant users has fluctuated over time, this group of users are also collecting a significantly greater quantity of needles and syringes at each attendance (P<0.05).