Councillors want more Needle Exchange Units in Cardiff
The services give drug users access to clean needles to reduce viruses – But some communities are worried
Councillors across Cardiff are calling for more Needle Exchange Units to be available in the city.
This comes after residents in Butetown say discarded needles make their streets unsafe.
One resident, who is a father of five, said “We can’t take our children to the park to play…Around Butetown there are needles everywhere”. Other residents have concerns about how these units could attract people who inject drugs in public.
Councillors say Hepatitis B, which can be spread through injecting drugs and sharing needles, has gone up consistently in the Cardiff since 2016.
The units give drug users access to clean needles to reduce viruses. There are already 8 units in Cardiff, 14 including the Vale, but calling on more units to be installed in Cardiff.
The Huggard Centre in Cardiff has a Needle Exchange Unit, they say it disposes between 20-30 litres of used drug litter every day.
In a statement, the Huggard Centre says more Needle Exchange Units are extremely important. They say “People who are desperate to take drugs will not travel to get clean equipment, or for that matter to dispose of used equipment… The absence of a local needle exchange that safely collects and disposes of used paraphernalia would certainly have a negative impact on discarded drug litter”.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Rhys Taylor, who represents Gabalfa, says more units are essential. He says “The reality of the situation is people are going to use drugs. Its now about finding how to protect these people who choose to take these substances…The safest way of dealing with drug users is to make sure there is a convenient way to dispose of these drugs. These units provide that”.