Pubdate: Fri, 18 Sep 2015
Source: Vancouver 24hours (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Vancouver 24 hrs.
Author: Patrick Colvin
Page: 5


Langley city council voted down a motion Sept. 14 to have staff report
back on advice and recommendations on the viability of a needle
exchange program - leaving one councillor concerned about their lack
of understanding regarding harm-reduction practices.

"Many of these people, not only on council but on staff, have no
concept whatsoever of the term harm reduction, so that's why I served
that notice of motion," said Coun. Dave Hall.

"It was a request for education, so if you look at the details of the
motion, it wasn't advocating a needle exchange, it wasn't advocating
needle depositories, it was simply asking staff to go and look at what
other communities are doing and come back to council and basically
educate them."

Hall said needles have been found in schoolyards and other "hot spots"
around Langley, like private properties with absentee owners.

According to Coun. Gayle Martin, city staff had already been looking
into needle depositories unbeknownst to city council, so they were
given the go-ahead to report back to council on that.

But the idea of researching needle exchange programs was

"The majority of council certainly does not want a needle exchange in
our city," she said. UBC professor of medicine Thomas Kerr said
council members are living "in the stone age."

"Needle exchange is the single-most effective way of preventing HIV
infection and reversing an existing epidemic," said Kerr. "So quite
frankly these types of political discussion about should we have a
needle exchange, as a scientist, I find them embarrassing."
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