amfAR Order “Sterile Rinse Water- 5ML Plastic Vials” Item # AL7025
Information taken directly from “Guide to Developing and Managing Syringe Access Programs” by Harm Reduction Coalition, 2010.
Water used for injection can be contaminated with blood. It is important to use sterile water to avoid infections when dissolving and mixing up drugs and when rinsing syringes after injection. Sterile water can be purchased in small, single-use vials. Plastic bottles are more practical than glass bottles, and the smaller the bottle, the less likely people will reuse and/or share the water. In cases where budgets are limited, water may be considered lower priority IF all participants have access to alternative clean water sources. This will not be the case if [Syringe Access Programs] serves homeless or transient IDUs and/or IDUs who frequently inject in public spaces or other places without consistent running water.
Water used for injection can easily be contaminated with blood and can therefore transmit HCV and other blood-borne infections. Blood can get into water when an IDU inserts a used syringe into a cup, vial or other vessel either to draw up water for mixing drugs or rinsing syringes or to put water back into the vessel after the syringe was rinsed. Because of the way blood disperses in water, it can be especially high-risk for other bacterial and viral infections as a result of using unsterile water sources such as puddles, toilet water, old water bottles, etc. (pp. 37-38)
Information taken direction from “Getting Off Right: A Safety Manual for Injection Drug Users”, by Harm Reduction Coalition 1998.
You’ll need water in which to dissolve your drugs and to flush out your needle and syringe after you’ve gotten off. This is particularly important for people with HIV, AIDS, or other serious health conditions to use the cleanest water you can find. Remember, you’re putting the stuff straight into your bloodstream!
-Using sterile water to dissolve (cook) your drugs is your safest option. You can buy it at any drug store or pharmacy. DON’T buy sterile saline (salt water) because your drugs may not dissolve in it.
-After sterile water, your next best option is using water that you boiled for at least 10 minutes and stored in a sealed jar. (Don’t use water that you boiled several days ago and which has been sitting in a pot or kettle.)
-If a sterile or boiled water are not viable options for you, fresh, cold tap water or bottled water are the next best choices.
-If you’re getting off in a location without a sink or other fresh water source, try to find a toilet and use the water from the tank (never use water from the bowl).
-Using water from a stagnant (non-moving) source like a puddle or old tire can cause serious infections; instead use water from a fire hydrant, stream, or other moving body of water (even water flowing in a gutter is safer than a puddle) if this is all you can find. THIS WATER CAN STILL GIVE YOU VERY SERIOUS INFECTIONS.
-Be sure the glass or whatever you have your water in is clean. Don’t contaminate your entire water source by sticking a used syringe in it. Pour some water into another container if you want to rinse your syringe out, and always be sure to discard the water you use to flush your injection equipment so no one else accidentally uses it.
-Sharing contaminated water can transmit viruses and bacteria. Make sure everyone’s got their own.
-Finally, as mentioned above, you might want to get into the habit of carrying a bottle of water as part of your works in case you need to get off in a place where there’s not a sink or other clean water supply. (pp. 16-17)
Also- Water vials are imprinted with “Sterile – Not for Injection” this is because the vials are a medical grade product used for respiratory aspirators. Please ensure SEP participants that the liquid inside is sterile and can be used for IV injection.