Filters

Product Description

This is a Safer Injecting product.

The filters provided through OHRDP are dense cotton pellets provided in sterile blister packs of 5 filters.

Best Practice

Best Practice:

Use a sterile filter for each injection to reduce transmission of HIV, hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HBV), and other pathogens, and to prevent other health complications.
  • Provide prepackage, sterile .22ɥm filters that retain as little drug solution as possible in the quantities requested by clients with no limit on the number of filters provided per client per visit
  • Offer a filter with each needle provided
  • Provide pre-packaged safer injection kits (needles, syringes, cookers, filters, sterile water for injection, alcohol swabs, tourniquets and ascorbic acid, if necessary) and also individual safer injection supplies concurrently
  • Dispose of used filter and other injection equipment in accordance with local regulations for biomedical waste
  • Educate clients about the risks associated with not using filter, sharing filters, making ‘washes’ from filters, the risks of bacterial contamination and deep vein thrombosis if a new filter is not used, and the correct single-person use of filters
  • Educate clients about the correct disposal of used filters, according to local regulations
A filter is placed in a clean, new cooker to filter any particles out of the drug before injection and a sterile needle is used to draw the drug through the filter. Filters are used to remove solid drug particles and other debris from the solution when drawing the drug from the cooker.
  • Store filters in a clean, dry environment to avoid moisture penetrating the packaging
  • It is important to rotate inventory to ensure that the shelf life of the product does not expire prior to distribution to clients
  • Best Practice Recommendations recommend filters with 0.22 µm pore width to decrease the likelihood of injecting particles or debris into the body
  • It is not uncommon for individuals to save filters and cook them at a later time, but this should be strongly discouraged as fungi and bacteria can live and grow in the old filters. By re-using an old filter one is susceptible to "cotton fever", an infection that is accompanied by fever, sweating, chills and other flu-like symptoms. It may go away on its own but if it persists or worsens, medical attention should be sought
  • Filters can come in contact with multiple needles, if more than one injector draws up through the same filter from the same cooker, the likelihood spread of viral (such as HIV, HCV or HBV) and bacterial transmission increases
  • Filters should be handled as little as possible to minimize the potential for contamination with viruses and bacteria
  • Cigarette filters are not a safe alternative as they contain small particles of glass and if the cigarette has been smoked, the filters will contain substances that are harmful to inject

Sources & Resources

  1. Strike C, Hopkins S, Watson T, Gohil H, Young S, Buxton J et al. Best practice recommendations for harm reduction programs: needle and syringe distribution, other injecting equipment distribution, safer crack kit distribution (interim version). 2012
  2. Strike C, Leonard L, Millson M, Anstice S, Berkeley N, Medd E. Ontario Needle Exchange Programs: Best Practices Recommendations. Toronto: Ontario Needle Exchange Coordinating Committee 2006
  3. Getting off Right, A safety Manual for Injection Drug Users, Harm Reduction Coalition
  4. www.anypositivechange.org