Needle and syringe programmes (update): call for evidence - under 18s

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is updating its public health guidance on Needle and syringe programmes: providing people who inject drugs with injecting equipment’.

The update will examine new evidence as it relates to the current recommendations, and will also examine additional evidence related to providing NSP to users of performance and image enhancing drugs (for example, steroids for bodybuilding or injected tanning agents) and evidence relating to providing NSP to young people under the age of 18. View the review decision document.

NICE has contracted the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour (CRDHB) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to review the evidence on the optimal provision of NSP to young people aged under-18. The findings will be presented in a report to NICE and considered by one of its committees.

We are interested in identifying studies that have been published since 1990 or any ongoing research or evaluation that is being conducted that relates the provision of needle/syringe services to young people aged under 18 years.

We are particularly interested in research or evaluations that describe risk behaviours and harms among young people who inject drugs (PWID). The specific questions for the review are:

1. How do harms associated with drug use differ between young people who inject drugs and older populations?

2. What is the level and uptake of health services including NSPs among young PWID?

3. What are the barriers to service use among young PWID?

4. What are the social factors shaping patterns of use, perceptions of risk, harm, benefit and pleasure, and help-seeking (especially NSP) among young people who use drugs?

5. What are the implications of the above for future provision and delivery of NSP and linked harm reduction services?

6. What are the processes though which youth influences drug use and injecting risk behaviours and other harms associated with injecting drug use as well as use of needle/syringe programmes and other strategies to manage risks? 

7. What are the different policies to facilitate access to services among people under 18 who use drugs?

8. How do policies designed to safeguard young people impact on access to services?

We are interested in a broad range of different types of evidence. It may be quantitative or qualitative research, case studies or policy documents. The studies may be published in journals, texts or monographs or summarised in project reports.

This call for evidence will take place between 14 January and 8 February 2013.

Please use the relevant form from the website (either the published evidence form or the unpublished evidence form) and send any comments by 5pm on 8 February to Lucy Platt at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (

Please note that the following material is not eligible for consideration:

  • Promotional material
  • Undocumented assertions of effectiveness
  • Opinion pieces
  • Forms with attachments of published material, or hard copy of published material

For further information on the project, please visit our website visit our website.

We look forward to receiving information on this and thank you in advance for your help.

Please note that we will be issuing a separate call for evidence relating to the provision of NSP to other people who inject drugs, including PIED users, in due course.

Instructions for Published material

Please send full reference details (which are to include author/s, title, date, journal or publication details including volume and issue number and page numbers) - NOT a PDF/WORD attachment or hard copy - using the Published material reponse form by 5pm on 8 February 2013 to Lucy Platt at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (

Instructions for Unpublished material

If you are aware of trials/ongoing research relevant to our questions which are in progress please could you help us to identify that information by providing relevant information such as a link to a trial registered with the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Clinical Trials), or with the US National Institutes of Health trials registry. Please use the Unpublished material response form to send in details  of any relevant evidence by 5pm on 8 February 2013 to Lucy Platt at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (

Academic or commercial in-confidence material

If you wish to submit academic in confidence material (i.e. written but not yet published) or commercial in confidence material (i.e. internal documentation), please could you highlight which sections are confidential, for example by using the highlighter function in Word.  Such content will not be made public. Please refer to section 4.4 of the Process guide for further information on submissions of confidential material.

Please send any relevant evidence by 5pm on 8 February 2013 to

We look forward to receiving information on this and thank you in advance for your help.

This page was last updated: 17 January 2013