"As is well-known, the shared use of needles and at-risk sexual practices contribute to spreading different infectious diseases.
"On the other hand, different research studies have revealed that the persons who inject themselves with drugs change their at-risk practices if they are provided with training and counselling, as well as the necessary tools for putting more hygienic behaviours into practice. This is the reason why many countries (including Spain) are stepping up those interventions making it possible to contact injecting drug users for the purpose of trying to modify the risky behaviours for their own health and that of those around them.
"In Spain, the harm reduction programmes mentioned above are involved in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases by way of the care provided to patients who are active drug users who come into these programmes.
"Of special interest in this regard are the needle and syringe exchange and dispensing programmes, as well as the dispensing of sanitary kits (these kits usually include, in addition to a needle and syringe, disinfectant liquid, condoms, etc.) which are carried out in both outreach programmes as well as in more institutionalized centres and resources.
"These programmes offered for the injecting drug user population for the purpose of reducing, insofar as possible, the risk of transmissible infections associated with the shared or simply unhygienic use of the injecting material.
"Similarly, these programmes also afford the possibility of making early HBV and HBC diagnosis, HAV and HBV vaccinations and carrying out overdose prevention measures. In 2010, the needle and syringe exchange programmes dispensed 2,672,324 needles and syringes through 1,029 exchange points."
Government Delegation of National Plan on Drugs (Reitox National Focal Point for Spain), "2012 National Report (2011 Data) to the EMCDDA: Spain: New Development, Trends and in-depth information on selected issues" (Madrid, Spain: DGPNSD, Dec. 2012), p. 190.