Requests for more citric (or VItC) sachets

Workers sometimes contact us to say that clients are asking for more than one sachet per syringe, and that they're not sure what to do.

Having discussed this issue at length with services distributing sachets, it's clear that these requests need to be handled carefully because they are partly a result of the shortfall in needle and syringe provision: the Centre for Research into Drugs and Health Behaviour has estimated that on average across the UK, needle and syringe exchanges are distributing less than one needle and syringe per injector per day. Given that many people inject a number of times a day, many syringes are being re-used on multiple occasions.

Clearly citric is a 'non-reusable' element of the needle exchange transaction, and as such it's likely to be the thing people run out of first. Aside from the benefits of providing a safer acid, without the attendant risks of using lemon juice and vinigar, one of the principle benefits of providing citric is that it encourages injectors into more frequent contact with needle exchanges.

We recommend that agencies stick to a 'one sachet per syringe' rule, and use requests for more sachets to discuss people's actual injecting equipment needs, and to give out extra injecting equipment (and citric) if it's needed. Part of the 'careful handling' of the requests is in helping injectors feel able to be open about the frequency of injecting and comfortable about taking enough injecting equipment to last until their next visit.


Exchange Supplies,
1 Great Western Industrial Centre,
Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1RD, UK

01305 262244