Pubdate: Thu, 13 Oct 2016
Source: Now, The (Surrey, CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Amy Reid


SURREY - After having to end its needle pickup program after a loss in
funding, Lookout Emergency Aid Society has temporarily revived the

The peer-led Rig Dig program, which began in 2006, came to a halt on
Sept. 9 came after the society was unsuccessful in its bid for $44,000
in gaming grant funding this year.

But it has been announced that Lookout Foundation has granted $10,000
out of an emergency fund to restore the program this week, enough to
keep it running until the end of March 17, according to a release.

Concern over children being pricked after Surrey needle collection
program ends

"The Lookout Foundation does not normally fund ongoing operational
expenses," said its board president, Chuck Puchmayr. "However we've
identified Rig Dig as an essential service in Surrey north. The
emergency fund supports continuing the service while we attempt to
secure ongoing funding."

>From April 1 to Aug. 31 last year the program reports collecting
21,099 used needles - a 200 per cent increase from the year before.

The society says it takes about $50,000 to run the program

Lookout Society executive director Shayne Williams said the program
receives positive feedback from the community, but also from "former
and active drug users who use their expertise to identify problematic
areas to target for safe disposal and cleanup in Surrey."

This news comes six days after Fraser Health announced it has chosen
RainCity Housing and Support Society, which runs shelters in Maple
Ridge and Coquitlam, to develop and execute a new regional harm
reduction strategy, including a needle recovery program.

It's not yet known what Surrey's piece of the pie will

Fraser Health says the strategy will be implemented in communities
with the greatest need and will include peer-based education to reduce
the number of discarded needles and safe-using practices, referrals
and information about healthcare and addiction, as well as a needle
recovery program.

The society will also be distributing harm reduction supplies to drug

Fraser Health says the plan's "peer-informed approach" will connect
people who use drugs with people in recovery.

The health authority says "one of the tenets of harm reduction is to
engage individuals in safer drug using practices that reduce
infectious diseases such as HIV and Hep C" and "a peer-informed
approach is considered an effective way to establish a connection with
people who may not otherwise seek support for their addiction."

Meanwhile, Fraser Health is still considering a safe consumption site
for Surrey, said medical health officer Dr. Ingrid Tyler, but noted
that work is being done outside of this strategy.

Fraser Health chief medical officer Dr. Victoria Lee said the new
strategy aims to "build on our multi-pronged overdose strategy which
aims to reduce the number of overdoses in our region."

B.C.'s drug overdose death toll had climbed to 488 in the first eight
months of this year - a 62 per cent jump for the same period of 2015.
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