Pubdate: Fri, 02 Jan 2004
Source: Lindsay This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 Lindsay This Week
Author: Deb Bartlett


A cheque from the local health unit is in the mail to help cover the cost 
of needle use in the city.

At the last board of health meeting, a motion was approved to give "up to 
$5,000" to the Peterborough AIDS Resource Network (PARN) as the health 
unit's portion of an exchange program.

Sharon Thompson, director, communicable diseases control for the 
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit says the forecasted 
cost of the program for this area is $3,838.29 for next year. Last year, 
more supplies were used than were expected and budgeted for, and the health 
unit sent more money to help make up its share of the shortfall.

Under Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care guidelines, health units are 
mandated to provide sterile injection equipment. Seven agencies covering 
Northumberland County, City of Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough have formed 
a coalition, and part of their mandate covers a needle exchange program.

"Fortunately we have the coalition looking after it (a exchange)," Ms 
Thompson said.

In a sparsely populated area (19 people per square kilometre), it is more 
difficult to provide such services.

The needle exchange site in Lindsay has closed, and users must now take 
their dirty needles to one of two sites in Peterborough.

Kim Dolan is executive director of PARN. She says use of the exchange 
increased "as word gets out and people become aware of clean needles being 

To figure out how much the health units must contribute, PARN asks everyone 
who comes in for clean needles what county they live in. Ms Dolan says that 
information is compiled as to which health unit's catchment area is using 
the service, and the costs for supplies are split fairly among the health 

The needle exchange program is "a stop gap," Ms Thompson says. The goal is 
to keep dirty equipment off the street and "stop the spread of infectious 

"The biggest problem is getting these people to come forth once," Ms 
Thompson said, noting once people see the benefits and are comfortable with 
the exchange, it becomes habit.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens