Mainline Needle Echange
The Mainline Needle Exchange Program, a project of the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre, is a health promotion project based on a harm reduction model. The goals of Mainline are to reduce the acquisition and transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B & C among people who use illicit drugs and to increase awareness and knowledge of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B & C and social issues affecting people who use illicit drugs. Mainline is dedicated to supporting people who currently use or previously used drugs to focus on their well-being through raising awareness of the risks, education and empowerment.
• To reduce the harms associated with drug using behaviours, including the sharing of
needles, syringes and other drug using supplies by providing needles, syringes,
sterile water, filters, matches, vitamin c, safer use kits, condoms, as well as the
collection and proper disposal of needles.
• To provide awareness and education on harm reduction, particularly safer injection
and sexual practices and general health information.
• To provide peer support, including assistance with exploring and accessing detox,
treatment and methadone, health services, education and employment as well as
support with legal, social services and housing issues.
• To create an environment of stakeholders, partners and networks to promote
community supports for individuals who use illicit drugs.
Mainline targets a population who use illicit drugs, are poly-drug addicted, use injectable steroids, who are street involved, who are homeless and/or may live in less than adequate housing, are often unemployed and/or have less than adequate income, do not access health care services, have significant mental health issues, are involved with the criminal justice system and/or are incarcerated in provincial and federal institutions, are HIV and/or Hepatitis B/C infected or at risk of becoming HIV and/or Hepatitis B/C infected.
The effectiveness of needle exchange programs is influenced by their ability to attract and retain individuals and to encourage/facilitate behavioural change. Mainline has developed varied service models to increase accessibility for individuals and provides services through a fixed site and through central and provincial mobile outreach projects.
Mainline employs the right people as the staff are people with lived experience who are able to establish a rapport among people who are entrenched in the street and who require extensive support. Mainline truly provides a public health intervention as we provide harm reduction supplies to people who use drugs which prevents the spread of blood borne infections among our growing population. Mainline remains committed to providing people who use our services a continuity of care and support that will provide effective responses that engage individuals to make informed decisions and lifestyle choices that will lead to improved health, well-being and social functioning.