Pubdate: Fri, 23 Sep 2016
Source: Sudbury Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Osprey Media
Author: Jim Moodie
Page: A1


A bright yellow bin, about the size of a mailbox but taller, is now
positioned on the edge of the Junction Creek trail near Hnatyshyn Park.

The sunny hue, however, belies the gravity of its contents and the
issue it's mean to address.

The receptacle also boasts a biohazard symbol, and is there to contain
used drug needles that might otherwise be left on the ground and cause
a prick wound and possible infection.

It appeared within the last week, and in the wake of concerns raised
in late July about the dangers of discarded syringes.

At that time a young girl from the Louis Street housing complex was
poked on the hand by a needle while playing and required medical attention.

While rare -- and seemingly avoided in this case -- blood-borne
diseases like hepatitis and HIV can result from such contact.

"That incident clearly demonstrates there's a need for some sort of
needle disposal, especially in a place where people are using
substances," said Brenda Stankiewicz, a public health nurse with the
Sudbury and District Health Unit.

The new biohazard bin was purchased by the Community Drug Strategy --
a partnership between the city, police and health unit -and placed at
the downtown green space because it is known to be a common area for
intravenous drug use.

Stankiewicz said one other bin was also acquired and will be situated
soon in another part of the city.

"The City of Greater Sudbury is looking after their installation and
maintenance," she said, while the locations have been chosen "through
consultation with community partners, the city and the police."

Stankiewicz said this type of drop box can be found in other cities
but it's the first time Sudbury has installed one. "I look at other
communities and many have a lot more drop boxes than we do, and they
are in a real variety of locations," she said. "There doesn't seem to
be a consensus on where is the best place the put these, but I think
it makes sense to put in a place where people are going to use it."

Stankiewicz said it's too early to say how much the box is being used,
but judging by the lack of drug-related detritus visible while
visiting the site Thursday, she senses it is making a difference.

"I was really happy to see there were no needles lying around," she

The bins aren't intended to replace or detract from the needle
exchange operated by The Point, and in fact the health unit would
prefer all used needles are returned through that program.

"These drop boxes are really just meant to accommodate single
needles," she said. "With the needle exchange, they're set up to take
back a larger quantity of needles."

Much like a garbage can in a park, the hope is that the receptacles
will stand out and people who have intravenous waste will opt to use

But they are also a handy way for a community member who comes across
used needles to safely dispose of them, provided they protect
themselves by using gloves and tongs, said Stankiewicz.

"I'm proud of the city for stepping up and taking this proactive step
to keep people safe," said the health nurse. "It's one more step to
creating a healthier community."
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