Product Description

This is a Safer Smoking product.

Screens are made of thin, porous brass metal sheets. They allow for inhalation of drug vapour. Five screens are provided in each package.

Best Practice

Best Practice:

Use metal screens provided by the OHRDP. These screens help prevent burns to the mouth and throat. They also prevent people from inhaling toxic fumes caused by the chemical coating on other makeshift material used for screens, like Brillo®. Screens provided by the OHRDP will help reduce the spread of disease and injury among people who smoke drugs.

  • Provide packages of screens in the quantities requested by service users with no limit on the number of screens provided per service user, per visit
  • Offer new screens when the screens shrink and are loose in the stem, as they are considered unsafe in this state
  • Provide screens without requiring service users to return used equipment
  • Provide pre-packaged safer inhalation kits (which should include stems, mouthpieces, screens, and push sticks) and also individual supplies, concurrently
  • Provide other harm reduction products, such as condoms and lubricant, with no limit on the number provided
  • Educate service users about safer use of equipment, safer smoking practices, the risks of sharing smoking supplies, and safer sex. Educate service users about the dangers of using steel wool or Brillo® instead of screens
  • Dispose of used screens and other inhalation equipment in accordance with local regulations
  • Educate service users about the proper disposal of used safer smoking equipment
  • Provide multiple, convenient locations for safe disposal of used equipment

* OHRDP acknowledges that best practice provides the highest standards of practice but that programs may be constraint by human and fiscal resources

Screens are used to hold drugs in place near the end of the stem. Screens are manually manipulated to fit into the stem with the help of wooden push sticks.

The OHRDP recommends that sites maintain a stockpile (safety stock) of a minimum of one month’s supply of products at the site, at all times. This is to ensure there is a consistent supply of products available for service users.

It is best if sites have one designated person ordering supplies from the OHRDP, but a minimum of two people should be trained in case an alternate is needed. The person trained to order supplies should always rotate the product inventory to ensure that products that have an expiry date don’t expire.


Note: product distribution can fluctuate when sites first start supplying new products.    It may take a few months for sites to understand the distribution patterns of new products. OHRDP has done their best to order new products in the quantities predicted to be needed for harm reduction sites in Ontario.

Note: product distribution can fluctuate when sites first start supplying new products.  It may take a few months for sites to understand the distribution patterns of new products. OHRDP will be working with sites to understand product needs in the province.

  • There may be a general reluctance to use screens, as many service users are familiar with using steel wool or Brillo®. Brillo® is easy to manipulate when packing a stem; therefore, despite the fact that Brillo® disintegrates and is sometimes inhaled, service users may prefer to use it. This behaviour may be difficult to change and service providers may need to promote the use of screens.


  • Consider creating information cards that explain the dangers associated with using Brillo®. Demonstrations and offering hands-on practice on how to insert screens were found to be effective at increasing the frequency of which service users use screens (Boyd et al., 2008).


  • With the introduction of safer inhalation products, it is recommended that educational resources are made available to service users. A Safer Smoking Pamphlet and a Service User’s Guide to the Safer Inhalation Supplies are provided by the OHRDP. Hard copies of these resources can be ordered by e-mailing

Sources & Resources

  1. Strike C, Hopkins S, Watson TM, Leece P, Young S, Buxton J, et al. Best practice recommendations for Canadian Harm Reduction Programs that provide service to people who use drugs and are at risk for HIV, HCV, and other harms: Part 1. Toronto, Ont: Working group on best practice for harm reduction programs in Canada. 2013.
  2. Boyd, S, Johnson, J,Moffat, B. Opportunities to learn and barriers to change: Crack cocaine use in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. Harm Reduction Journal. 2008. 5 (34), doi: 10.1186/1477-7517-5-34
  3. Towardtheheart: BC’s Harm Reduction Programs Knowledge Exchange Webpage. British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. Available from: