Launch event – Use low dead space: Driving uptake of safer drug injecting equipment

24 January 2019 6-7.30pm

New posters, a booklet and an animation, co-designed by service users from Bristol Drugs Project, are being launched at this special event, which includes an exhibition of the materials.

The materials have been designed to promote the benefits of low dead space injecting equipment for people who inject drugs, alongside broader harm reduction messages.

Low dead space equipment has less space between the needle and the plunger after injecting. Blood and drug remain in this space, so if equipment is shared the risk of spreading blood borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C is higher when there’s more space for blood to be left in the equipment.

At this special launch event, you will have the opportunity to see an exhibition of the materials and hear from the people involved in the project, including:

  • Deb Hussey, Assertive Engagement Worker at Bristol Drugs Project
  • Bristol Drugs Project service users involved in the project
  • Michael Linnell, Linnell Communications, a designer who specialises in information product design for drugs, alcohol and public health campaigns
  • Andrew Preston from Exchange Supplies, one of the pioneering manufacturers of low dead space equipment

Non-alcoholic drinks and snacks will be on offer, too.

The materials build on research by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West (CLAHRC West) and the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol. Their research found that people who inject drugs would be willing to switch to this safer equipment, if the benefits of less wasted drugs and lower risk of passing infections were explained and they were introduced gradually. The research also informed some of the messages in the materials.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Deb Hussey, Assertive Engagement Worker from Bristol Drugs Project, joined the CLAHRC West team as Knowledge Mobilisation Fellow for the project. Deb visited needle and syringe programmes around the UK, from Glasgow to London, to understand barriers to the uptake of low dead space equipment, and how different programmes operate and share harm reduction messages.

Deb and the rest of the team then worked with Michael Linnell of Linnell Communications, a designer who specialises in information product design for drugs, alcohol and public health campaigns.

Through a series of workshops, the materials were co-designed by service users from Bristol Drugs Project who shaped the messages, language and look and feel of the materials. The final products are now available to download from Exchange Supplies’ website. Exchange Supplies is a social enterprise that has pioneered the use of detachable low dead space equipment among people who inject drugs.

The project was overseen by a steering group that included Bristol Drugs Project, Exchange Supplies, Public Health England, CLAHRC West and HPRU in Evaluation of Interventions.

The materials are also on public display in the gallery space at the Station on Silver Street from 8-31 January 2019.

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