Pubdate: Sun, 27 Feb 2005
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 The Province
Author: David Carrigg
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


What are the chances a used syringe will fall from the sky in the Downtown 

Ask 24-year-old Jeff McLeod and he'll say they're pretty darn good.

Earlier this week, McLeod was walking into the office of Chinatown's Dr. 
Sun Yat-Sen Garden at Carrall and Keefer when something fell to the ground 
in front of him and the man he was walking with.

"We thought it was a branch from a tree or a shingle from the roof because 
it's a low overhang," McLeod said. "We looked down and it was a mouldy old 
syringe. I looked up to see where it had fallen from and there was a crow 
sitting on the overhang looking at it. It had apparently just dropped it."

McLeod said he and the other man later walked back to their vehicle parked 
nearby and saw several more needles in the gutter.

"It seems to me there's an increase of needles lying around," he said.

When told the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority supplies 2.7 million 
needles a year to addicts, McLeod said, "Oh my God."

Clay Adams, health authority spokesman, said that according to 2002 data 
they collected more needles than they handed out.

"The idea is to give people clean needles, so if push comes to shove, 
you'll give them a clean needle when they have nothing to exchange," Adams 
said. "We try to recover 100 per cent of all the needles we hand out but 
obviously there are some that get missed."

Adams said the authority contracts non-profit societies to distribute and 
collect needles in the Downtown Eastside.
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