Needle Syringe Program National Minimum Data Collection Report 2019

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 fourth annual national data report which presents national and state/territory NSP data over the period 2015/16 to 2018/19.

Key findings
  • Australia's network of 4,182 NSP services was comprised of 98 primary, 908 secondary and 2,836 pharmacy NSPs in 2018/19. These face to face services were supplemented by 340 syringe dispensing machines. In 2019, n=66 NSPs in five jurisdictions provided programs to facilitate access to take-home naloxone.
  • Based on 2,590 NSP occasions of service (OOS) recorded at primary and secondary NSPs that participated on the snapshot day in 2019, it is estimated that public sector NSPs in Australia provided 695,000 occasions of service in 2018/19. Almost half (47%) of NSP OOS involved provision of Health Education/Interventions and 6% involved a referral.
  • Three in four (73%) NSP attendees were male, two thirds (62%) were aged between 30 and 49 years, young people (aged <25 years) comprised 4% of OOS in 2019 and excluding occasions of service where Indigenous status was not reported, 20% 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 2019 (45%), followed by analgesics (heroin, other opioids and opioid substitution therapies, 35%) and anabolic agents and selected hormones (predominantly anabolic steroids, 8%).
  • Australian NSPs distributed 52.5 million needles and syringes in 2018/19. These were distributed to an estimated population of 75,178 people who inject drugs (excluding people who inject occasionally). This equates to 698 needles/syringes each per annum or 1.9 each per day. Syringe coverage (syringes per injection) remained at >100% in 2019.