#HRMAP: Needle Stick, Overdose and the Recovery Position

A new selection of Harm Reduction Media Arts Projects (#HRMAP) for your enjoyment and  use.  Today’s selection covers the topics of needle stick injury, overdose and the recovery position.

Needle Stick Injury

Needle Stick Injury is more common in medical settings but still poses some risk to the public when taking into account inappropriately disposed injecting equipment.  The risk of transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C remains relatively low in such situations, however the trauma and anxiety that such an injury can cause while people await testing results can be very damaging.  It is for this reason that the handling of injecting equipment should always be undertaken with the utmost respect of the pointy end.  If you are handling a needle that has been used by someone else do not try and recap it.  Doing so only raises the risk of accidentally sticking yourself with the needle.

If you find a needle and syringe and want to dispose of it yourself:

  • Take a hard plastic container with a screw top and place it  on the ground beside the needle and syringe.
  • Keeping away from the sharp end of the needle, carefully pick up the syringe by the barrel.
  • Needle point first, put the syringe in to the container and  seal it tightly. Place the container in a needle and syringe disposal bin if there is one nearby or contact a local Needle Syringe Program for information about where you can appropriately dispose of the equipment.

(adapted from Dolan et. al,  2005)

Mixing alcohol and heroin increases the risk of overdose

Mixing heroin with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol or benzodiazepines (e.g Valium, Temazepam, Serapax) significantly increases the risk of overdose.

Recovery Position

Knowing what to do when somebody is experiencing an overdose can save a life.  One of the first steps is to get them into the ‘recovery’ position.

For a great learning resource regarding the recovery position and responding to overdose I highly recommend The Recovery Position from the Harm Reduction Works YouTube Channel.

Want to submit your own #HRMAP project?


Dolan, K., Dillon, P. & Silins, E. (2005). Needle and syringe programs: Your questions answered. Canberra, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.


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