Information taken directly from “Guide to Developing and Managing Syringe Access Programs” by Harm Reduction Coalition, 2010
Antibacterial ointment can be helpful in addressing concerns related to minor skin and/or injection-related infections and increase healing time. Skin infections and puncture wounds can increase risk of HCV and blood-borne infections because they provide an avenue for blood-blood transmission. (p.39)
Antibiotic ointment can be cost-prohibitive for some programs however it is very smart to have a supply on-hand even if staff/volunteers/peers only provide it on an ‘as needed’ basis.
Antibiotic ointment can be purchased through Safety Works, Total Access Group or other online medical supply retailers. Total Access Group gives you a bulk option which will cost $328 for 1,728 ointment packets (includes free shipping for orders over $250). Safety Works also provides free shipping but only for orders over $500. Safety Works is a NY-based female-owned business which are reasons why you may choose them over another company.
Some medical professionals argue against providing antibiotic ointment because if IDU’s apply the ointment after recent injection (before the site has formed a scab), it may prevent healing. Ensure your SEP is providing clear messages around waiting for the site to scab over prior to applying antibiotic ointment or other track-mark reducing options such as Vitamin E or Eucerin (Original Cream).