Disruption of supply of water for injection in Scotland – what people need to know

14 September 2022

26 October Update: There continues to be a supply issue with 5ml plastic ampoules of sterile water for injection across Scotland. The existing contract comes to end in February 2023, National Procurement seem confident that over the longer term, the issues will be resolved. NHS GGC have sourced and are currently providing 2ml glass ampoules, the video below shows how to use these safely.

The supply of 5ml plastic ampoules of sterile water for injection is currently subject to disruption.  This disruption affects the whole of the UK and is ongoing. Although NHS and others are working hard to sort this problem, it is not known when the situation will be fully resolved.

This is a concern as there are risks associated with using unsuitable choices of water to prepare drugs for injection. These risks include bacterial infections or if water sources are shared with other people then this may increase the risk of blood borne virus transmission.

It is important that people who inject drugs, people providing support and people working in services are aware of the current situation and have the knowledge to help reduce the potential harm accordingly.

Scottish Drugs Forum has worked with other agencies to produce briefings:

Briefing for people who inject drugs

Briefing for people who work in IEP services (and other workers)

Services should display a poster explaining the hierarchy of water for injection.  A poster is available from Exchange Supplies at https://www.exchangesupplies.org/shopdisp_water_injecting_risks_poster.php

For Services in Glasgow and Clyde, all water risk posters and information leaflets for clients can be accessed by emailing a request to Margaret.bailey@ggc.scot.nhs.uk