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Drug litter information

What is drug litter?

Drug paraphernalia, when it is not disposed of properly, is known as drug litter.

Drug paraphernalia is any equipment or material that is used for making, using or carrying drugs. Below is a list of drug paraphernalia:

Drug litter poses risks to the public and it should not be handled or disposed of without the proper equipment and adequate training.

Drug litter can lead to needle stick injuries (where the skin is pierced or punctured with a needle) which can lead to the individuals contracting Hepatitis C or HIV.

Where does it come from?

Drug paraphernalia can be obtained from needle exchange services. These services provide drug users with clean syringes and other equipment to hygienically inject drugs. Personal sharps bins are also given out to allow people to dispose of drug paraphernalia safely.

Drug paraphernalia may be found in public places due to public injecting, the lack of a personal sharps bin and other reasons.

Below is a short video which presents some commonly discarded drug paraphernalia.


What to do if you find drug litter?

Drug litter is dangerous. If you come across any drug litter, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Drug litter needs to be disposed of by people who have the proper equipment and who know how to dispose of it safely. Call your Local Authority to report what you have found and where. If the drug litter is in a public place, the Local Authority will dispose of it safely. If the drug litter is on private property, the Local Authority will be able to advise on how the property owner can dispose of it safely.

Click here for your Local Authority number to report litter

What are the risks?

The risks of contracting HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C from a used needle are:

What to do if you receive a needle stick injury?

If you pierce or puncture your skin with a used needle, follow this first aid advice immediately:


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The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
Harm reduction messages from the #SaferStudentNights campaign.
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