The Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) operates from a variety of sites around Tasmania including pharmacies and is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the specific purpose of ensuring the availability of equipment and services to injecting drug users. The NSP was initiated by the Tasmanian Government in 1993 under the HIV/AIDS Preventative Measures Act 1993. A new NSP, established under the Public Health Act 1997, replaced the former program under the HIV/AIDS Preventive Measures Act 1993.
Under the Public Health Act 1997, the Department of Health and Human Services will issue a permit to businesses or organisations rather than individuals. All businesses and organisations operating under the NSP program will need a permit to continue in the program from 1 July 2015. Permits will be valid for up to three years.
Under the Public Health Act 1997, injecting equipment must only be supplied on behalf of the permit holder by people who hold a certificate. A certificate will be issued when approved training is completed. Staff with a current permit issued under the HIV/AIDS Preventive Measures Act 1993 are deemed to hold a certificate under the Public Health Act 1997. From 1 July 2015, untrained staff and those previously supplying equipment under supervision must complete approved training and be issued with a certificate before they can supply equipment. Certificates will be valid for up to three years.
The Tasmanian Branch of the Pharmacy Guild has developed an online learning resource for Pharmacy Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) workers in Tasmania. This course is designed to provide essential background on the NSP and how it fits into Australia’s Harm Minimisation Policy. The course has been reviewed and approved by the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services and is required learning for all pharmacists and pharmacy assistants who, while working in Tasmanian Pharmacy NSP sites, will be interacting with and handing out sterile injecting equipment to NSP clients.
The Harm Reduction module is available at no charge to Guild members and their staff. For those pharmacies who are not members of the Guild, the module is available at a cost of $40 per participant. To access the module, log in to your GuildEd account, or create an account, via https://guilded.guild.org.au/. The module is worth 2 Group 2 CPD Credits.
After completing the module, participants will be asked to fill out an application for a DHHS Accreditation Certificate. Once the DHHS receive this form, your application will be processed and your Certificate will be emailed out to you.
The old system of faxing the order sheet has been ceased. Pharmacy sites should use the online ordering system from now on.
Please note: there is a charge for Water for Injection, at cost recovery, which will raise an invoice from DHHS if ordered.
(This is not an exhaustive list; other reference should be sought if required.)