Pubdate: Wed, 25 Oct 2017
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Chatham Daily News
Author: Ellwood Shreve
Page: A1


A pilot project was launched Tuesday to provide the first outdoor
after-hours needle disposable drop box, with the aim of curbing the
high rate of hepatitis C, locally.

The sharp disposal kiosk is located on the property of AIDS Support
Chatham-Kent at 67 Adelaide St. S. in Chatham, which has partnered
with the ChathamKent Public Health Unit to provide a safe place to
dispose of needles.

When looking at best practices of other communities where these types
of sharp disposal kiosks are available, it's a program that's been
tested, said Steve Pratt, harm reduction program manager with AIDS
Support C-K.

"It's new to Chatham . . . but the evidence tells us we should expect
to see an improvement in keeping our community safe and needles
properly disposed," he added.

Jordynne Lindsay, a public health nurse specializing in harm
reduction, believes from the research evidence that is available, the
sharp disposal unit will aid in preventing the spread of blood-borne
infections such as HIV and hepatitis C.

"In 2016, there were 50 confirmed cases of of hepatitis C in
ChathamKent, which is nearly double the provincial rate," Lindsay said
in a written release.

"The year before we saw a peak of 70 cases," she added. "For the past
eight years, the incidence of hepatitis C in our community has been
higher than the rest of Ontario."

Pratt said, "we want to get that message out there that it is for
anyone who has sharps they need to dispose of."

He said this includes people with diabetes or someone taking hormone
injections, who may need to dispose of needles but can't make it to a
pharmacy or other places that take sharps during normal hours of operation.

Noting the kiosk will increase access to a safe sharps disposal
option, Lindsay said: "Harm reduction is about understanding that
substance use disorder is not a choice; it is a complex health concern."

She said through education about safe sharps disposal, "we can reduce
the preventable health impacts associated with drug use."

Pratt said the health unit is funding the pilot project to see if
people will use the sharps disposal kiosk.

"If it's something that seems to work then, hopefully, we'll look at
adding future locations down the road," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Matt