Pubdate: Wed, 28 Dec 2016
Source: Goderich Signal-Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Goderich Signal-Star
Author: Jefferson House
Page: 3


A Needle Exchange Program operates in several sites across the county
in Clinton, Seaforth and Goderich. In Clinton it is offered through
the Huron County Health Unit, in Goderich it is offered through
Choices For Change and in Seaforth it is through Dr. Datema's
Methadone clinic. However, the Health Unit in Clinton is used the most
due to its accessibility.

The health unit's website states: "Like all health units in Ontario,
the Huron County Health Unit offers a needle exchange program at
several sites across the county.

Needle exchange programs help ensure that injection drug users have
access to sterile injection equipment to prevent transmission of HIV,
hepatitis B, hepatitis C and other blood-borne infections and diseases.

This approach is known as a harm reduction strategy and is proven
across the world, Canada and Ontario to be effective in reducing the
spread of disease. It is also proven to reduce the number of needles
discarded in the community."

The program was ministry warranted for the Huron County area in 2013
due to a report regarding the introduction of a harm reduction strategy.

Weather is a key part in accessibility for needle disposal. In the
summer, more people are able to travel further distances to come. In
contrast, in winter, harsh weather and travel conditions limits
accessibility to facilities.

During 2016, between the months of January and June, supplies provided
to clients in March and April ( 5,575 supplies) was triple the amount
provided in January and February ( 1,700 supplies). Of the supplies
provided in total during the recorded six months, the Clinton facility
was responsible for 56 per cent. Goderich provided 29 per cent and
Seaforth supplied the clients with 15 per cent.

The Health Unit said the reason the Clinton facility receives and
distributes needles and supplies more than the other facilities is due
to accessibility for clients. The Health Unit is open more often,
which allows for more opportunities to deposit used supplies.

Anyone is able to stop and deposit their used supplies or receive new
supplies. The facilities are not exclusive to county residents only,
meaning anyone can go and get supplies if needed.

The program is not meant to eliminate the need for drugs; it is meant
to be a way for clients from one of Huron's most vulnerable
populations to get a supply of clean, sterile resources in order to
preserve their health from blood-borne infections.
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