A PROGRAMME that gives drug users access to safe needles and syringes is being provided on the Isle of Wight.

The Island Recovery Integrated Services (IRIS) say it reduces harm, encourages people to seek treatment for drug issues, and provides a place to safely dispose of needles and syringes.

IRIS also offers products designed to reduce the risk of viruses and infections from needle sharing.

Staff said more and more people were using the service.

The service offers the following:

• Sharps bin

• Testing for Hepatitis and HIV

• Steel foil to avoid toxic fumes from domestic foil when smoking heroin

• New syringes

• Clean water in ampoules

• Overdose prevention kits and training

Rob Hayward, from IRIS, said: "It has long been established that this intervention reduces the harms associated particularly with IV drug users but also the wider community as a whole, through the safe disposal of needles.

"We acknowledge that people will choose to inject drugs and therefore it is our professional responsibility that this is done in the safest most hygienic way, with less chance of unintentional overdose as possible."