Public Statement

MEDIA RELEASE June 2018

The Hedland Well Women’s Centre runs a Health Service Based Needle Syringe Program funded by the Department of Health and has done so successfully for the past 10 years.

The purpose of NSP is for harm minimisation through the provision of clean needles. The aim is to reduce the risk of incidence of needles and injecting equipment being shared. The program provides education and information and encourages safe disposal. Often clients who access NSP may not present to other health services, therefore this serves as an opportunity for referral and provision of vital health and other services such as legal and social services. NSP programs are cost effective to the Health Department saving money that would otherwise need to be spent on the treatment of Blood Borne Viruses such as Hepatitis and HIV.

The Well Women’s Centre believes in the effectiveness of the program and through this contributes to the radical reductions in blood borne viruses nationally. We support the national strategy to reduce viruses that may be transmitted through the sharing of injecting equipment.

The Well Women’s Centre recognise that incorrect disposal of used needles is a concern and a valid fear within the community, especially when found in public spaces. This is one of the unfortunate side effects of drug use. The Well Women’s Centre work in collaboration with the Town of Port Hedland on addressing this issue. We provide interventions with our clients on the correct disposal of needles and continue to educate around this.

We are confidently assured by the fact that there have been no reported cases in Western Australia of a person being infected with HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C following accidental injury from discarded injecting needles found in a public setting. This has been reported by the Department of Health and we attribute this to the success and continuation of the Needle and Syringe Program.

The Well Women’s Centre also work in conjunction with other community key stake holders and contribute to outcomes as set out in Priority 4 of the Port Hedland Alcohol and Drug Management plan.

On a more intimate note, The Well Women’s Centre value and treat all of our clients with the utmost respect and take a non-judgemental non-discriminatory approach. In the 10 years this program has operated out of the centre we have seen a number of clients make changes in their life to reduce the use of drugs and in turn make some positive life changes. Through the centre we can provide support and the correct referral process for clients to enhance and empower them in making better choices of behaviour. 

At the end of the day this is why the Well Women’s Centre will continue to support and work within this space. Ultimately we care about this town and all members that make up this community, therefore we will continue to strive, support and work towards all programs that aim to better the health and well-being of the people of the Hedland Community.

The Well Women’s Centre are happy to discuss or answer any further enquiries regarding this media release or the Needle Syringe Program.  

Rebekah Worthington

CEO