There are two main approaches to consider when a young person expresses an interest in reducing or ceasing injecting drug use:

  1. Change route of administration
  2. Reduce or cease substance use

Change route of administration

As many of the harms associated with injecting drug use arise from the act of injecting, changing the route of administration is a practical and effective harm reduction strategy for young people who do not wish to reduce or case their substance use.

It is sometimes the case that people experience positive reinforcement of the injecting experience from the anticipatory excitement and endorphins released during the injecting preparation phase. This may be a barrier to changing injecting behaviour and may be useful for the practitioner to keep in mind when exploring motivation to change route of administration.

Options for other routes of administration can be found here and on the AIVL website

Reduce or cease substance use

For a full description of the practices for changing overall drug-using behaviour (rather than just focusing on changing injecting behaviour) see module Controlling & Ceasing Substance Use.

There are overall harm reduction benefits to a person injecting less frequently, with less potential vein damage, and risk of infection.

Where a client has expressed motivation to change their behaviour, practioners should work collaboratively with the client to explore options in developing a plan of change, including providing information on treatment options such as pharmacotherapies and residential treatment.