Our unique, specially manufactured foil, is interleaved with tissue, and is now also available in shrink wrapped packs of 20 sheets.
Brown heroin is manufactured to be smoked, and smoking heroin is much less dangerous than injecting it.
These packs of 20 sheets are ideal for heroin injectors who you want to encourage to make the transition to smoking, but for whom 50 sheets is too many. Just having the pack available makes smoking a constant option - and a number of trials have found that it is an effective way of encouraging injectors to switch to smoking more often.
Price (exc VAT)
Price (inc VAT)
FREE shipping on all UK orders over £30
To help encourage transition from injecting to smoking, and to encourage heroin smokers into contact with services, Exchange Supplies have arranged for the manufacture of unique foil packs containing both 50 and 20 sheets of high quality 100% aluminium foil, each interleaved with tissue.
We made this video because many people who inject went straight to injecting as a route of administration, and don't know how to smoke. Demonstrating how to make a pipe (tooter) can help encourage injectors to move to smoking as the way in which they take their drugs.
The custom made sheets of foil measure 200mm x 125mm, and are shrink wrapped into packs of 50, each interleaved with tissue.
The foil in our packs is the finest 100% pure aluminium. It is rolled without lubricating oil, so there is no smoke to be burnt off before it's used.
The interleaved sheets remove the need for a cutting blade, which reduces risk of injury.
There is a study, published in the online peer reviewed Harm Reduction Journal, that describes the impact and effectiveness of the provision of foil as part of a comprehensive service for injecting drug users.
Q:Why don't we just give out kitchen foil?
The provision of foil to injecting drug users to encourage them to reduce or stop injecting (and as a tool to engage heroin smokers) is an important health intervention.
The Exchange Supplies foil packs are presented in a professional way, which gives a clear message to drug users about the importance services that distribute it attach to facilitating the transition away from injection (as well as early engagement of heroin smokers).
A roll of kitchen foil is not very discreet to carry away from the service, so is far less appealing to drug users than the handy packs of 50 or 20 ready cut sheets.
Finally, kitchen/cooking foil is often coated with vegetable oil (see below) which drug users don't like, and which doesn't fit with the delivery of a health intervention.
Q: Is it better that you don't have to burn anything off the surface of Exchange Supplies foil?
A. A bit. ...it's a feature that will make the exchange supplies foil popular with users, but it doesn't make our foil much safer than ordinary kitchen foil.
This is why: Aluminium foil is rolled into thin sheets from solid blocks. Sometimes, to reduce friction during manufacture, a thin coating of vegetable oil is used. However, the manufacturing process to make our foil does not use oil, so there is no need to 'burn off' before using it.
We aren't in the business of making inflated claims and want to stress that the vegetable oil used for making other aluminium foil products is non-toxic and the fumes do not represent a health hazard, providing they're not actively inhaled. When using kitchen foil that is coated with oil, heroin smokers burn it off before putting the drug on the foil.
This means that the fact that there is no oil used in the manufacture of our foil is a small benefit, that will be popular with users, but will not result in significant health gains.
Q; Is it illegal?
A: No. The provision of foil by drug services was legalised by its addition to section 9a of the misuse of drugs act as exempt from the general prohibition on supplying articles to be used for the preparation or consumption of illicit drugs in September 2014.
No Alzheimer's risk!
Q. Is it true that there’s a risk of Alzheimer's disease when chasing drugs off aluminium foil?
A. No. Aluminium foil is manufactured to be placed in close contact with food, while it is baked in very hot ovens: it has been used for this purpose for many years and there is no evidence of risk or harm resulting from this. There are all sorts of risks associated with drug use, but aluminium poisoning from chasing is not one of them!
The following practice notes have been written in collaboration with the services who have been distributing foil... below we have described the key messages and conversations that have been shown to maximise the effectiveness of providing foil.
We have also made a video with clear instructions on how to make a foil pipe (tooter) for smoking heroin - to see it on our youtube channel, click here. We made this video because many injectors went straight to injecting as a route of administration, and don't know how to smoke. By showing people how to make really good pipes, we hope to make smoking more attractive than injecting as a route of administration.
Of course, the foil packs are being supplied because smoking heroin is associated with lower levels of dependence than injecting, and every dose of heroin that is smoked rather than injected has no risk of HIV, hepatitis C, or hepatitis B transmission, and far less risk of overdose. Of course, helping injectors switch from injecting to smoking is a new area of practice for many workers. We hope that the information on these practice notes pages will enable you to feel confident in promoting the use of foil.
If there's an issue that isn't covered, or if you have developed interventions that we could include on the site, please do not hesitate to drop us a line.
Of course, many people do not want to move to smoking as an alternative route of drug use. These injectors must feel comfortable continuing to use the needle exchange and undue pressure should not be exerted on them to stop injecting.
However, there are significant groups of injectors who may be open to switching to smoking some or all of the drugs they take, in particular those who:
Would chase if they had foil available;
Have recently started to inject;
Are injecting partly because a partner is injecting;
Are having trouble getting venous access;
Have recently moved to femoral injecting;
Are experiencing serious problems as a result of femoral injecting; or
Have recently detoxed or been released from prison.
The foil packs are useful tools to encourage discussion, and provide an ideal opportunity to give essential advice:
To move from injecting to smoking;
About the relative dangers of injecting compared to smoking; and
About the relative benefits of smoking over injecting (these will often change over time as people have increasing difficulty getting venous access).
Raising chasing with injecting drug users
Having foil available immediately makes the issue of raising chasing easier. The lead in to the conversation will often be:
"did you know we now have foil in the needle exchange? …have you ever chased heroin?"
This will usually lead into a discussion about chasing, in the same way that asking injectors about their injection sites usually quickly leads into a discussion about injecting practice.
The response will be:
Yes, it was ok but…
Yes, I hated it - it made me feel sick/I didn’t like the taste etc; or
However you deal with the response, it's important to be positive about chasing as an option, while at the same time understanding people's position. It needs to be promoted, without being over forceful, or making people feel guilty about injecting.
As with all harm reduction interventions, the key is demonstrating that you accept and understand why people do what they do, but at the same time want to provide advice and resources to enable them to reduce the harm they are doing to themselves by injecting.
For confirmed injectors who are reluctant, you can frame chasing interventions not as pressure to stop injecting forever, but as a vein preservation measure that could prolong the number of years they can inject…
If any other practice issues arise, please feel free to contact us (details on the about us pages) to talk them through.
Obviously all injectors would be exposed to less drug related risk if they smoked their drugs instead. Aside from the obvious reduction in vein damage, overdose and blood borne virus transmission would be massively reduced.
However, there are particular groups of injectors who may be more amenable to foil as an intervention.
looking at where they’re at, but looking at options, challenging assumptions, pointing out consequences… main target groups
Groin injectors (understanding the big hit concept proves empathy, increases willingness to listen/engagement… ‘save that’ ‘use it as a treat’)
Subcutaneous injectors (no hit from that).
There are a number of positive things about chasing which were reflected back to the pilot sites by people who'd taken the foil and tried it. Making injectors aware of them, suggesting them as positive aspects of switching to smoking, might help encourage people to make the switch, and be aware of the benefits if they experience them.
The main positive things that are reported by people who chase are that:
It's more sociable;
There's less injecting related harm;
The drugs last longer;
There are no needles in the house (particularly beneficial for parents) and;
Once a day… particular situations
The main objections people raise to smoking are:
It takes too long; and
Convenience especially in some locations.
If you get a strong objection to using foil, still get it out, show it to your client – the fact that it is purpose made does engage people and you are, at least, planting the seed of smoking as a reverse transition as a possibility, and the agency as a place to talk about it.
If people hated the smell, all you can do is suggest that they try it again: tastes change, it may be some years since they last tried it. Also, the ‘cost benefit analysis’ of the discomfort vs the effect may have changed, especially if they’re now suffering consequences of injecting and taking ages to find a site - the comparison between injecting vs smoking when they first switched may be very different to the comparison now.
If someone has never chased, it can also be a hard ‘sell’.
The first response would probably be to ask if they know anyone who smokes who could show them how to do it.
Harnessing the experience within the drug using community is a powerful intervention – if drug services can value the teaching of smoking to injectors, and even find popular figures in the drug using community to teach their peers to chase, it could deliver big changes in behaviour. Certainly if you get people who switch readily, it would be good to encourage them to tell their peers.
There is a lifeline booklet on how to chase heroin, and there are pipe making instructions on this website.
Foil is listed as being exempt from section 9a of the Misuse of Drugs Act which prohibits of the supply of 'articles to be used for the preparation or consumption of illicit drugs'. For more background and information on section 9a, click here.
Service User Groups
As with all aspects of service provision, discussion with service user groups should form part of the implementation process. Support from service users may be a powerful weapon in overcoming objections from people who oppose the provision of foil, it is also likely to maximise the positive impact (and uptake) of the new service.
Alternative routes of administration
UYB stands for 'up yer bum' and is a realistic alternative administration route, although resistance to its use is often very high.
The group of injectors that are most like to at least give this route a try, are those for whom injecting has become very difficult because of progressive vein damage. Injectors who do not perceive themselves to be experiencing real problems are much less likely to try this route or to stick with it.
The anal route is effective because the rectum has a very rich blood supply, and fluids are readily absorbed into it through the wall of the lower bowel. The anal sphincter is a very effective double seal of muscle rings, helping to ensure that the solution does not leak out.
The drug solution should be prepared in the same way as for injection, although (obviously) a syringe without a needle should be used. There is a risk of overdose by his route, so for the first time at least, injectors should use no more than they would normally use when injecting. The syringe barrel should be introduced gently - using a small amount of lubricant makes this easier and lessens the risk of accidental injury.
The experience of using drugs in this way is likely to be very subjective, to some degree depending on how dubious about the route an individual is, but the theory is sound, and some individuals do find it effective and much easier and safer than a seemingly endless hunt for a viable vein.
There are some medical conditions that need to be taken into consideration before using this route. For example, constipation or diarrhoea should be resolved before starting UYB and some other medical problems mean that it should not be recommended. These include:
We made this video because many injectors went straight to injecting as a route of administration, and don't know how to smoke. Demonstrating how to make a pipe can help encourage injectors to move to smoking as the way in which they take their drugs.
The packs of 20 sheets give a reduced cost per intervention alternative to the packs of 50 sheets (which are better for supplying to those who are smoking heroin regularly).
The foil in our packs is the finest 100% pure aluminium. It is rolled without lubricating oil, so there is no smoke to be burnt off before it's used.
The interleaved sheets remove the need for a cutting blade to be supplied with sheets – so there is no risk of injury.
There is now a study, published in the online peer reviewed Harm Reduction Journal, that describes the impact and effectiveness of the provision of foil as part of a comprehensive service for injecting drug users.
Smoking heroin is associated with lower levels of dependence than injecting, and every dose of heroin that is smoked rather than injected has no risk of HIV, hepatitis C, or hepatitis B transmission, and far less risk of overdose.
To help encourage transition from injecting to smoking, and to encourage heroin smokers into contact with services, Exchange Supplies have again taken the initiative to arrange the manufacture of unique foil packs containing both 50 and 20 sheets of high quality 100% aluminium foil, each interleaved with tissue, to help drug services encourage injectors to switch to smoking heroin as an alternative route of administration, and to encourage heroin smokers into early and regular contact with services.
There are extensive practice notes to assist the effective distribution of foil on the page describing the foil 50 sheet packs...
We made this video because many injectors went straight to injecting as a route of administration, and don't know how to smoke. Demonstrating how to make a pipe can help encoruage injectors to move to smoking as the way in which they take their drugs.
The FAQ's for foil are all covered in the product briefing for the 50 sheet packs, to see them, click here
Why don't you supply the silver boxes any more?
We used to supply 40 packs of 20 sheets dispatched in an attractive silver display box for easy display and distribution, but following a price rise in the cost of the packs, we stopped doing the boxes so that we could keep the price the same.
Exchange Supplies is an organisation with our roots in the provision of confidential drug services, and we absolutely understand the need for discretion in the outer packaging of our goods when shipping to individual customers.
If you tick the discreet packaging tick box your order will be shipped in plain packaging, looking just like any other mail order package. There will be no branding, stickers, logos, or stamps on the outside that would enable someone to guess what the contents are. For UK orders we usually use Royal Mail tracked service as this is likely to draw less attention than an orange TNT lorry.
Overseas orders will have a label on the outside containing a customs notification declaring the contents.
Exchange Supplies is an organisation with its foundations in the provision of confidential healthcare to a patient group who care more about their confidentiality than any other - injecting drug users.
So you know we really mean it when we say we take your privacy, and right to confidentiality, very seriously. We dispatch goods to individuals in plain packaging.
We do, of course, collect information about you when you give it to us on the phone or through the website. When placing an order you will be required to supply your credit card or bank details but these will only be stored until your order has been despatched. We can only access these again by logging onto a secure server to assist us should there be a dispute with your payment. We respect your privacy and will not divulge data you supply to us for payment and delivery of goods without your permission, all data is stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
Please note that we are required by the carriers to give the mobile number and email address you supply to them. They may share this with the customs authorities in your country.
We have taken all reasonable care to protect your data and our system. Of course, if someone were to break into our password protected system and steal or corrupt data, that is a criminal act, and they would be liable for their actions and not us.
Exchange Supplies returns policy
By placing an order online, you are committing to buy the products you have selected.
If we supply you with incorrect (or faulty) goods please get in touch straight away so we can correct our mistake and supply the correct product(s).
Your assistance in returning the goods sent in error will be required, and we will, of course, cover the agreed associated shipping costs. We will normally arrange collection, or ask you to post the goods back by recorded delivery. If you choose to return goods using any other method, we reserve the right to only refund what it would have cost us to arrange collection by our courier.
If after delivery you want to cancel the order, please contact us so we can discuss the practical arrangements for returning the goods. We are an ethical business, and strive to offer the highest levels of customer service, but we have to reserve the right, at our discretion, to:
charge a restocking fee
not refund outbound carriage costs (based on the actual cost to us)
make you pay for return of the goods in a saleable condition.
Exchange Supplies terms & conditions for customers, and use of our website and its contents
The price payable for the goods is that as set out at the time you place your order and should coincide with those prices listed within the website. VAT, where applicable, is included in all prices displayed online. We reserve the right to adjust these prices without warning or prior notice. Errors and Omissions are unlikely because the webshop is integrated with our accounts system, but we have to stipulate that they are excepted (E&OE).
Some customers are exempt from VAT, the prices given in a web order may still show VAT, however, this will be deducted prior to dispatch.
We strongly recommend that you use a delivery address that is generally occupied during normal working hours (Monday to Friday, 09.00 to 17.30). If we have to organise redirection of your goods once dispatched, or pay for the goods to be returned to us, we reserve the right to pass on any additional costs to you.
We will not be liable for any return postage costs unless the goods are dispatched faulty or the incorrect items are sent to you.
If you are unhappy with any goods we supply, please call us on 01305 262244 and we will endeavour to resolve your complaint quickly.
Your order will not be dispatched until we have received clearance from your credit card company.
If all or any of your order is not ready for dispatch we will not take any money from you until the goods are ready to go.
Please also see our returns, privacy and delivery policies.
Whilst we do our best to ensure the accuracy of information supplied on the website, we do not warrant that the information contained is accurate, up to date or complete. Information may be subject to change without notice. Any information given, whether verbal or in writing, is for guidance only. This does not affect your statutory rights under English Law.
All the information and images on this site are protected by copyright and commercial organisations may not use any image or text without permission. Unauthorised use may result in charges being applied, and court action.