Pubdate: Mon, 22 Nov 2004
Source: Kelowna Capital News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004, West Partners Publishing Ltd.
Author: John McDonald, staff reporter
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)

DKA, cops limit needle exchange

If you want to find out information about the needle exchange program in 
Kelowna, don't ask the man who supervises it--he doesn't know.

Pat Reber, director of quality assurance at the Okanagan Boys and Girls 
Clubs, said he doesn't know how many needles the program gives out or what 
its budget is.

Reber also denied knowing anything about a request by the Kelowna RCMP and 
the Downtown Kelowna Association that outreach health nurses employed by 
the Boys and Girls Club stop exchanging needles in City Park.

"I have no knowledge of that. What I do know is that we are in discussion 
in terms of all of our services currently being offered at the street 
clinic in terms of how our practices are evolving," said Reber.

"Nobody is asking us to modify anything."

However Clint McKenzie, executive director of the Downtown Kelowna 
Association, told the Capital News the outreach health nurses have already 
stopped exchanging needles in Kelowna's main downtown park.

"Needle distribution in the park didn't work for us this summer," said 
McKenzie. "We asked that it be stopped by street nurses. It was 
discontinued because of requests by us and the RCMP."

McKenzie said the request shouldn't be interpreted as a criticism of the 
needle exchange program.

"I appreciate there is a need to provide services (but) on-site in City 
Park is not the way to go about it," he said.

"On-site within a facility is one thing but it's another thing to be doing 
that in the park.

"There is the perception that it's encouraging it."

McKenzie said the DKA is now sitting on the outreach health advisory 
committee along with representatives from the Interior Health

Authority, community policing and the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club.

"That's been a very positive thing that we're now communicating," he said.
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