A substantial proportion of sterile needles and syringes issued in Australia are distributed through pharmacies. However, there is very little information about people who obtain needles and syringes from pharmacies, including whether they are a different group from those who obtain needles and syringes from needle and syringe programs. In 2006 a pilot study was conducted using eight pharmacies in south-east Sydney. It showed that a considerable proportion of people attending pharmacies engage in injecting practices that put them at risk of acquiring or transmitting hepatitis C and HIV. In 2007 and 2008 the project was expanded to include most of metropolitan Sydney and the Newcastle and Hunter Valley regions. In 2009 the project was conducted in all regions of NSW and in Western Australia.
NSW Health, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing