A fully licenced medical device, the 1ml sterile saline minipod is a plastic ampoule containing sterile isotonic normal saline in a plastic ampoule, that can be used for eyecare and rinsing injecting equipment prior to, and after rinsing with bleach.
Practice Notes 'Normal saline' is a medical term meaning that the concentration of salt in the liquid is isotonic i.e. exactly the same as that of the blood.
The concentration in the minipod is 0.9%, which is a tiny amount of salt, but this acts to give the fluid slight anti-bacterial properties, and when used for cleaning contact lenses, it just ensures that the fluid doesn't draw any fluid out of the eye and so reduces irritation.
Where normal saline is used for the preparation of illicit drugs, the fact that the solution is isotonic means the diluant won't have any impact on the lining of the vein – although in an injection of illicit drugs, it's not the diluant that has an impact on the vein, it's the drugs!
However, it is important to note that The Misuse of Drugs Act only allows the supply of licenced water for injections (which we also sell) to injectors to use for injection... The saline minipod can be supplied to injectors for the purpose of eye care or for rinsing syringes prior to, and after, rinsing with bleach. If they chose to use a minipod instead as a diluant to dissolve their drugs, they would be responsibile for that choice, and there would be no contravention of the Misuse of Drugs Act by the agency that supplied them.
Quality The normal saline minipods are a fully licenced medical device that have been developed for cleaning contact lenses and treating eye injury, but the small volume, plastic ampoule and guaranteed sterility make them ideal for supply to injecting drug users.
Q. What is 'saline'
A. It's salt – the minipods contain a tiny amount of salt, so that the solution balances perfectly with the body. It's a very small amount, and it couldn't have any negative health impact.
Q. Can you inject the contents of the minipod?
A. The minipod is not licenced for injection, and it can't be supplied for that purpose. However, drugs will dissolve in normal saline just as readily as they do in water, and so it is likely that injecting drug users will compare the risks to their health from other available water sources (which could include blood borne virus infection, if the water is in a container that has recently been used by another injector) and those from the sterile saline minipod and conclude that it is a lot safer.
However, the Medicines Act (which, quite rightly, requires any product explicitly sold for the purpose of injection to have a medicines licence); the Sale of Goods Act (which holds a seller responsible when goods are being used for the purpose for which they were sold); and Section 9a of the Misuse of Drugs Act (which forbids the supply of articles – with some exceptions – used for the preparation or consumption of illicit drugs) means that the ultra saline minipods cannot be explicitly supplied for the purpose of drug preparation, and the user must take responsibility for the decision to use them for that purpose.