NSP NMDC 2023 National Data Report Image

Needle Syringe Program National Minimum Data Collection 2023 National Data Report

The Needle Syringe Program National Minimum Data Collection (NSP NMDC) supports the National Strategies for blood borne and sexually transmissible infections and complements the annual Australian Needle Syringe Program Survey National Data Report.

All eight Australian jurisdictions operate a range of NSP services targeting a variety of drug use and client populations. Despite some variation in levels of completeness and alignment, all jurisdictions provide data incorporating the following three components: NSP service type and location, non-identifiable client occasions of service, and needle syringe distribution.

This is the eighth annual national data report which presents national and state/territory NSP data over the five-year period 2018/19 to 2022/23.

Key findings
  • Australia's network of 4,442 NSP services was comprised of 109 primary, 833 secondary and 3,067 pharmacy NSPs in 2022/23. These face-to-face services were supplemented by 433 syringe dispensing machines.
  • Based on ~1,800 NSP occasions of service (OOS) recorded at primary and secondary NSPs that participated on the snapshot day in 2023, one third (32%) of NSP OOS involved provision of health education/interventions and one in ten (10%) involved a referral.
  • Three in four (71%) NSP attendees were male, three fifths (62%) were aged between 30 and 49 years, young people (aged <25 years) comprised 4% of OOS in 2023 and excluding occasions of service where Indigenous status was not reported, 22% of NSP attendees identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
  • Stimulants and hallucinogens (predominantly methamphetamine) were the most commonly reported drugs injected on the snapshot day in 2023 (47%), followed by analgesics (heroin, other opioids and opioid substitution therapies, 32%) and anabolic agents and selected hormones (predominantly anabolic steroids, 14%).
  • Australian NSPs distributed 50.8 million needles and syringes in 2022/23. These were distributed to an estimated population of 72,886 people who inject drugs (excluding people who inject occasionally). This equates to 698 needles/syringes each per annum, exceeding the UNAIDS definition of high syringe coverage by more than three-fold. Syringe coverage (syringes per injection) remained high at 114% in 2022/23.