Last week, we welcomed pharmacy students from the University of Texas to experience how we provide essential harm reduction in our central Needle Exchange.

Our most memorable part of our visit to the UK.

With Texas still being one of 15 states in the US where needle exchanges are currently illegal, the students enjoyed sitting in on a few exchanges, talking to our service users and discovering how we work to care for the health of some of the vulnerable and overlooked individuals in Bristol. It also gave our staff and service users the great opportunity to find out what limited resources are available in Texas.

Unfortunately, syringe access for people who inject drugs is illegal in Texas & 14 other U.S. states (map from @amfAR). This is likely due to moralistic concerns about enabling drug use that are not supported by evidence (fact sheet from @CDCgov). — Lucas Hill, PharmD (@HillPharmD) June 21, 2018

Visiting the UK as part of their placement with the University of Bath, the pharmacy students were offered the chance to visit health initiatives in the local area by Bath’s Dr. Jenny Scott, senior lecturer in Pharmacy Practice and research collaborator with BDP.

The visit to BDP is invaluable for the students… To introduce the students to people with substance use issues and to demystify the fears or prejudices that they may hold.

Jenny Scott, University of Bath

The pharmacy students got the opportunity to visit our Women’s Morning group, speak to our nurses and meet a volunteers who is also a trained pharmacist – finding out about what it’s like being a pharmacist in the UK. Before they left they said that their trip to BDP had been the most memorable part of their visit to the UK and they would definitely be taking things they had learnt back to Texas with them. We wish them all the best in their studies.