Pubdate: Mon, 10 Feb 2003
Source: Oakville Beaver (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003, Oakville Beaver


According to the report released to the Region's Health and Social Services 
Committee on Tuesday, during the first year of the program, 6,899 needles 
were collected and 9,320 needles were handed out.

The majority of the people utilizing the program - 65 per cent - were 
identified as steroid users.

The remaining 35 per cent were intravenous users, involving drugs like 
crack-cocaine and heroin.

Data was taken from the program operation between September 2001 and 
September 2002. It had operated as a pilot program for a year prior to that.

The needle exchange program's objective is to get dirty needles off the 
street in order to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. Clients remain 

Cate Bannan, manager of AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), sexual 
health and needle exchange services for the Region's public health 
department, is pleased that steroid users are accessing the program.

Passing dirty needles among steroid users pose a risk to spreading diseases 
and must be treated seriously, she said.

Bannan was unable to comment on how widespread steroid use is in the region.

The needle exchange program also offers drug counselling, pamphlets for 
safe drug injection and sexually transmitted disease prevention.

Overall, 202 clients used the program. They included:

133 from Burlington

41 from Oakville

20 from Milton

6 in Georgetown

2 in Acton

"We are very pleased with how well the program is doing," Bannan said. "We 
think there are more users out there, but it's not epidemic."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens