Harm reduction and needle exchange

The Harm Reduction team works throughout County Durham to help people reduce the harm that may be caused by their alcohol and/or drug use.

Needle Exchange

The team provides needle exchange services at two of our two hubs – at Centre for Change, Whinney Hill, Durham DH1 3BQ, and Saddler House, Saddler St, Bishop Auckland DL14 7BH in County Durham. Harm Reduction workers also go out and about across the whole city, providing an outreach service for needle exchange, harm reduction, and support to people who’d benefit from the service and want to reduce drug and alcohol-related harm.

As part of the needle exchange service, the team works with 11 pharmacies across County Durham where the needle exchange service is available.

Where you can access Needle Exchanges across the County Durham area.

The needle exchange service aims to reduce the rates of equipment sharing amongst injecting drug users, thereby preventing the risks of infection and drug-related harm amongst individuals and their communities.

Supervised consumption

The service team can support you by prescribing substitute medication for your opiate dependence.

We’ll introduce you to a local pharmacy in line with standard practice across the UK. Staff can offer further support by supervising you in taking this medication in a safe, professional, and confidential environment.

About two-thirds of pharmacies in County Durham provide this ‘supervised consumption’ service to support your recovery. The service will discuss with you what you can expect from the pharmacies. The pharmacies also expect you to be courteous towards pharmacy staff, attend alone, and accept that pharmacy staff will likely ask for proof of ID.

Naloxone kits save lives

The Harm Reduction team can provide a naloxone kit to service users. They will give people the knowledge to be able to use the kit if needed. This is a potentially life-saving piece of kit, that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Speak to any worker within the County Durham Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services about getting a naloxone kit. More about naloxone.