Pubdate: Wed, 22 Jan 2003
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Vancouver Courier
Author: Judy McGuire
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


To the editor:

Re: "Used needle bins not appropriate for Nelson Park," Jan. 15.

I would like to echo the concerns of Ian Cannon and Insp. Dave Jones that 
used needles are being discarded in the Lord Roberts Annex area. However, I 
also wish to clarify that the DEYAS Needle Exchange Pick-up program is one, 
among others, which is working diligently and closely with the community to 
remedy this situation.

Our workers have been in touch with Mr. Cannon since last September and now 
work with Street Youth Job Action to provide daily patrols of the area, 
minimizing, even if we cannot entirely eliminate, the discarding of used 

It is our experience that most drug users take responsibility for their 
actions and return their used needles to the exchange.

Unfortunately the small minority who do not cause problems such as those 
now being experienced by the Lord Roberts community.

DEYAS's strategy to deal with this issue has been to set up the pick-up 
program and to work closely with communities to deal with problem areas. 
I'm sorry that Insp. Jones has chosen not to believe that we recover over 
100 per cent of the needles we give out. The statistic is accurate and it 
is a recovery rate we have maintained consistently since 1994.

We will remain committed to protecting the health and safety of the drug 
users who come to our services and also that of the wider communities in 
which we all live.

Judy McGuire, manager Health Outreach Programs, Downtown Eastside Youth 
Activities Society
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