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Keep it clean

May 01 2019
Reasons to smile: National Smile month starts in May and Dental Awareness month is November. Oral cancer is twice as common amongst men as women, and the Scottish incidence rates are almost double those seen in England. “Going for a dental check-up and eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables protects against oral cancer,” says dentist Declan Cairns from the Glasgow Dental Initiative, which now opens on Wednesdays at Cadogen Street Soup Kitchen in Glasgow from 9–9.30pm.  © Marco Biagini Reasons to smile: National Smile month starts in May and Dental Awareness month is November. Oral cancer is twice as common amongst men as women, and the Scottish incidence rates are almost double those seen in England. “Going for a dental check-up and eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables protects against oral cancer,” says dentist Declan Cairns from the Glasgow Dental Initiative, which now opens on Wednesdays at Cadogen Street Soup Kitchen in Glasgow from 9–9.30pm. © Marco Biagini
Look after your veins by injecting safely, even on the street. Here are some tips from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s Magdalena Harris

Look after your veins by injecting safely, even on the street. Here are some tips from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s Magdalena Harris

It is not always easy to practise safe injecting when you are homeless, but the following tips can help. Good injecting technique and keeping everything as clean as possible can keep your veins going and protect against dirty hits as well as viral (Hep C) and bacterial (abscesses, cellulitis) infections.

1. GET READY: If possible, be prepared. Get more injecting equipment than you think you might need. If there are safe places you can stash sealed works, do so.

2. WELL LIT: Try and find a clean, private place where you can prepare and inject. Somewhere with decent light (not blue lights) and where you are less likely to be disturbed. Some public toilets are better than others…

3. WIPE WELL: If you can, carry a packet of baby wipes or stash of alcohol swabs (sterets) with you. Use these to wipe injecting prep surfaces, your hands and the skin where you are going to inject.

4. DODGE DIRT: If you are outside, put down a newspaper, plastic bag etc to prepare your injection on.

5. STAY STERILE: Ideally, you want to use a sterile needle and syringe for every injection. If you can’t, it is better to reuse your own old one than use someone else’s. Clean your works as thoroughly as you can – the best way to do this is to flush with clean water, then bleach, then clean water again.

6. DON’T SHARE:
Avoid sharing any injecting equipment such as cookers or water. If you have to reuse cookers, it is best to clean with soap and water or bleach solution first. If using the bottom of an empty can to cook up in, swab off the ink lettering on the bottom first.

7. WATER RULES: You will need water to prepare your hit. If you don’t get any water with your injection pack, freshly boiled and cooled water is best – but not always easy to access. Next go for cold tap water, then bottled water that hasn’t been drunk from (bacteria risk) or used for other people’s injections (virus risk). A good tip, if begging, is to ask passers-by to buy you a bottle of water. Get two – one to drink and one to use for drug prep. If you have to use water from a toilet, flush the toilet and catch the water before it enters the bowl. Look out for empty bottles you can fill from the washroom. Avoid using puddle water. Ask people for nearly empty bottles of water instead.

8. JUST A LITTLE: If preparing brown or white, you need an acidifier. Citric or Vit C is best, but don’t use too much! This can damage your veins and cause painful injections. If cooking up a £10 bag, you only need half a sachet or less to dissolve the gear. Any residue left behind in the spoon will be the crap the gear is cut with – leave it there. Avoid lemon juice; it has a fungus in it that can damage your eyes.

9. DON’T SPIT: Take care with saliva – it has heaps of bacteria in it and can make you really sick. Don’t lick your needle or get any saliva in your hit.

10. MOVE: Try to rotate your injection sites – this will keep your veins going longer.

11. TIDY UP: Dispose of your used works in an incineration (cin) bin. If you don’t have one, put them in an empty drinks can. Crush the can to prevent anything being removed and put in a rubbish bin.

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