Doctor throwing used syringe needle into sharps container on violet background, closeup

How To Find & Visit a Needle Exchange

Paying a visit to a needle and syringe service is available to any individual who engages in drug injection in the United Kingdom.

Needle exchanges are free services that provide new sterile injecting equipment to safeguard oneself against the following:

  • Infections
  • Injuries
  • Abscesses

Where to find a needle and syringe service

Needle and syringe services are usually found in:

  • Drug and alcohol services
  • Pharmacies or chemists

Find local needle exchange services:



Northern Ireland:

You can get new equipment wherever you see this sign:

the symbol for needle exchange services in the United kingdom

Visiting a needle exchange unit

Needle exchange services:

  • Are free
  • Do not require an appointment
  • Do not require you to hand in used equipment to get new equipment

When you visit a needle and syringe service, you will talk to a trained staff member in a private room.

You will be asked:

  • Your name (if preferred, you can provide your initials instead)
  • Date of birth
  • The equipment you require
  • To return the used equipment you have in the sharps bins provided

Needle exchange staff encourage everyone to return used equipment so they can dispose of it safely.

Available equipment

You can get new equipment free, whatever drug you are injecting; this includes steroids.

Letting the staff know what drug you’re using will ensure you get the right equipment. Also, letting them know about how much you need will ensure you get enough equipment.

You can receive:

  • needles (pins)
  • syringes (barrels)
  • spoons (cookers)
  • citric or vitamin C
  • filters
  • foil
  • Sharp bins


Needle and syringe services will not tell anyone you’ve visited; anything you say to the staff is confidential.

The only time staff will share your information with someone else is if they are concerned about your safety or someone else’s.


The staff at needle and syringe programs possess extensive knowledge in the practice of safe injection. Feel free to consult them regarding wound care, infection prevention, or any other inquiries related to injecting substances.

Staff can help you find other support, including drug or alcohol treatment and advice on sexual health, housing and legal matters.

Prescriptions or ‘Scripts’

If you are currently using an opiate substance such as heroin, you have the option to consult with the staff regarding obtaining a prescription for methadone or buprenorphine. This will assist you in either undergoing detoxification or managing your addiction.


You can get tested for infections that spread through the blood, such as HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

These viruses are easily spread by sharing needles, syringes and other equipment used to prepare or take drugs. These include:

  • spoons
  • filters
  • pipes
  • straws


You can get vaccinated against Hepatitis B.


The staff at the needle and syringe service can provide guidance on how to prevent overdoses.

They can give you a free injection (Prenoxad) or nasal spray (Nyxoid) of naloxone to counteract the impacts of opioid substances such as heroin, morphine, and methadone.

They will also teach you how to utilize these tools effectively.