In July 1987, BDP launched one of the UK's pioneering Needle Exchanges in the fight against AIDS. To mark the 32nd anniversary of needle exchanges in Bristol, we caught up with Louise from Exchange Supplies who work in partnership with BDP and 25 pharmacies across Bristol to support people injecting drugs to reduce harm.

Exchange Supplies is a unique social enterprise established to fill the gaps no one else would fill, and develop and supply products, information, and services to improve and prolong the lives of people who inject drugs.

This year we’re delighted to have expanded our partnership to include the supply of injecting equipment to BDP and the Bristol pharmacy Needle Syringe Programme scheme.

BDP has a history or working collaboratively with Exchange Supplies, who previously launched a wound care pack inspired by BDP. Over the past year Exchange Supplies have been working alongside BDP on a project promoting the use of Low Dead Space equipment and harm reduction practices through a range of materials co-designed by people inject drugs.

Continuing to champion Low Dead Space equipment, Exchange Supplies have recently introduced a new range supply Low Dead Space resources, both detachable needles and fixed syringes across Bristol pharmacies. The new fixed syringes have also been designed to reduce accidental sharing, by being available in a range of different colours.

As part of the new partnership, Exchange Supplies have been visiting each pharmacy and introducing them to the streamlined online ordering system for needle exchange resources, allowing for smaller minimum orders and next day deliver.

Working closely with BDP during the initial service redesign phase, we looked at the equipment supply, drug related litter hot spots, information and pharmacy training gaps to assess the needs of the pharmacies and service users to create a project plan to underpin the current service provision. This enabled BDP to access the best resources to maximise the benefits of needle and syringe provision in community pharmacies and the BDP needle exchange.

It’s early days but the initial feedback from the pharmacies about the recent changes has been very positive.  At Exchange Supplies we are looking forward to building new relationships with the pharmacies and working alongside BDP to develop further improvements to support people who inject drugs living in Bristol.