Pubdate: Fri, 27 Jul 2001
Source: Kenora Daily Miner and News (CN ON)
Copyright: 2001 Kenora Daily Miner and News
Author: Ian Hitchen
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


The Northwestern Health Unit is working with community groups to bring a 
needle exchange program to the city.

Rai Therrien, a public health nurse who works in communicable diseases at 
the health unit, said hopefully there'll be a site for the needle exchange 
pilot program in Kenora by the end of August.

She said the purpose of the program is to reduce the risk of spreading 
blood illnesses like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Human Immunodeficiency 
Virus, and prevent other complications that can occur as the result of 
injecting drugs.

"The goal is to reduce the harm and to help people with healthier lives," 
Therrien said. "

She said one of the sites would be the health unit itself, and its in the 
process of negotiating for at least one other site.

Under the Kenora Harm Reduction Program anyone doing injectable drugs would 
be able to go to a fixed location to get clean needles and injecting 
equipment for free.

Therrien said the program wouldn't be confined to those taking drugs like 
heroine and cocaine. For example, it could be used by people using steroids 
or other street drugs.

In addition to the needles there would also be information on such things 
as alternate ways to do drugs, how people can be tested for blood borne 

"The whole focus will be harm reduction rather than simply accessing 
needles," Therrien said.

The pilot program would probably last three years she said.

The Northwestern Health Unit with other partners has already introduced two 
needle exchange programs. One is in Sioux Lookout and the other in Fort 
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