Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 2015
Source: Cambridge Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Metroland
Author: Joe Lethbridge


CAMBRIDGE - Just a few weeks ago, about 30 people met at the
amphitheatre behind Galt Collegiate Institute. The event was called
"Taking Back Our Rivers."

It was just after the event planner was walking his dogs, as many
people do along the river, came upon discarded hypodermic needles and
other discarded paraphernalia and trash.

Eleven bags of trash and 20 needles were collected, 11 of which were
found in a drug den bellow the CPR bridge.

It is not just dogs we have to worry about. We have families walking
together. We have children running along the path, as kids can, full
of excitement. We have people wearing flip flops and sandals.

Prior to the event itself, many of us wrote to different levels of
government and departments. We received few answers. For some of us,
we have been left with more questions than before.

In reference to how many needles and sharps containers are given out
and returned, as of writing this - no response.

In reference to whether public health has plans for safer injection
sites or secured used needle drop boxes - no foreseeable plans. There
were no reasons given for the answer supplied.

In my follow-up e-mail I asked what factors determined the answer. I
have not received a reply.

Is it cost prohibitive? Do we not have a problem with drug use in
Cambridge or the region? Is drug use the proverbial needle in the
haystack no one wants to find? Will the drug den found under the CPR
bridge, in close proximity to Galt Collegiate Institute, be filled

Will anyone decide which government level, department or agency will
do something about it or will we hear "that is out of our

I truly wish people would take a serious look at the issue of drug

While I know illicit drug use will not go away, can we not lessen the
harm to the public?

One needle dropped into a secured used needle box is a start. Safe
injection sites set up elsewhere are prepared for potential overdoses.

I also know it is not solely a drug issue. It is a social issue - it
affects users' friends and families and the public .

I know of no one who woke up one day and said "I think I will stick a
needle in my arm" or "I think I will cook up household products and
smoke it".

Have we taken the focus and funding away from social issues? For many
users, homelessness, poverty, mental health issues and drug use coincide.

While not all will seek help and we may lose the war on drugs, should
we not avail all means to help, giving users and ourselves a fighting
chance? Do we throw our hands in the air like we just don't care? Do
we walk past discarded needles and hope someone else will deal with

Place a simple call to police. They will send someone

Do we walk past a drug user and describe them as "one of them" or a
"crack whore?"

Doing so only exacerbates the issues.

Do we sweep it under the rug saying "it is everywhere"? I truly hope

We are lacking in help for social issues and some of us lack in social
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MAP posted-by: Matt