Pubdate: Fri, 19 Jan 2018
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 Black Press


Needle prick incidents may be a byproduct of permissive action aimed
at saving lives

Anyone who spends a significant amount of time in downtown Victoria is
at least somewhat aware of the potential for spent hypodermic needles
to be discovered.

That said, finding one in a public or private area is always grim
reminder of the reality that people in our midst struggle daily with
addiction. And despite the efforts of local groups, those that work
with the city's drug-addicted population, to clean up after the
relatively small number of addicts who can't or won't dispose of
needles safely, there are innocent, unsuspecting people getting pricked.

Fears over the potential to be pricked by a needle used by someone who
may also have a blood-borne disease are enough to heighten awareness
for many people coming downtown. But the public shouldn't have to be
hyper-vigilant to avoid such a scenario.

While the leaving of needles at discrete sites well-known to the
cleanup crews is more common - the circumstances around the first two
needle pricks reported last week remain foggy - two needles found
points-up in planters outside a Johnson Street salon seems a clear
indication of someone messing with civilized society, not simply
discarding of their rig in an unsafe manner.

Clearly, Island Health and other downtown service providers such as
Victoria Cool Aid Society, Our Place and SOLID (Society of Living
Intravenous Drug Users) are committed to keeping the public safe in an
area where people in the height of addiction are more prone to
actively use. Saying that, sometimes there needs to be a wake-up call
to remind those supporting the end users that more vigilant cleanups
are needed.

As a progressive and compassionate society determined to reduce opioid
deaths, we allow injection drug use - sometimes supervised, sometimes
not - to freely happen in this area. But public health and safety, for
those outside the realm of the drug addicted community and those
within it, is too important to take for granted, even when much good
work is being done to maintain it.
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MAP posted-by: Matt