If you inject drugs you increase the risk of drug related harm, particularly an overdose which can be fatal. However, should you choose to do so, there are ways of doing it safely.

Advice for injecting safely

  • Each person present should have their own equipment: never use a needle that someone else has already used.
  • Make sure that you sterilise your equipment and the area where you are injecting. Don’t touch anything that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned until after the you are finished injecting.

Alternatives to injecting

Other methods of introducing substances are safer than injecting. Try smoking, snorting, or ‘bombing’ – a method of swallowing drugs¬†by rolling or folding powdered or crushed¬†drugs in a cigarette paper.

These methods will affect your body differently, and are not as dangerous. But be careful not to take too much, be swallowing rather than injecting the drugs will reach your system more slowly but can last longer.

Support for safer injecting

Harbour can provide you with clean injecting equipment (such as needles, syringes and sharps bins). This helps to prevent users sharing injecting equipment and helps to reduce risks such as the transmission of blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis B & C and HIV.

Safer Injecting Services also allow users to return used injecting equipment to them to be destroyed safely and workers in the services are able to provide advice and information on the risks associated with injecting and how to reduce these risks and inject as safely as possible. These services also provide blood borne virus immunisation, screening and treatment.


Harbour offers needle exchange services, which means you can receive clean, safe needles to ensure that if you choose to inject, it can happen safely.

This is known as ‘harm reduction’ – meaning that if you do choose to inject, you can do it in the safest possible way. However, injecting is still risky, and if you would like support to cut down your drug use or quit completely, Harbour can help you do that.