Pubdate: Sat, 10 Feb 2018
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Sun Media
Author: Monte Sonnenberg
Page: A1


The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit has expanded its harm-reduction
strategy related to intravenous drug users.

With opioid addiction an increasing problem in the local area and
elsewhere, the health unit has set up three 24-hour disposal sites
where users can dispose of old needles.

Needle disposal is a concern for health officials because intravenous
drug abuse is highly correlated with blood-borne illnesses, such as
HIV and hepatitis.

Used needles that aren't properly disposed pose a hazard to young
people who may pick them up or people passing by who are inadvertently

"The provision of safe and secure sharps disposal units has proven
effective in other communities to reduce the number of needles
discarded in public spaces," Tamara Robb, a nurse with the health
unit, said this week in a news release.

"The secure sharps kiosks will keep our communities safe by reducing
the risk of needle-stick injuries and ensuring that people can access
the kiosks without barriers. This is an important step in helping our
communities to be safer."

Other recent expansions of the health unit's harm-reduction

include the free distribution of naloxone nasal spray to individuals
who are at risk of an opioid overdose. Free naloxone is also available
to friends and families who are acquainted with an addict at risk of
an overdose.

Naloxone is a fast-acting antidote that temporarily reverses the
depressive effects of opioids on the central nervous system. Naloxone
buys time so paramedics and other medical professionals can administer
a permanent solution to an overdose crisis.

The health unit also offers free injection kits to opioid abusers. In
doing so, the health unit hopes to cut down on the number of shared
needles and the disease risk associated with that.

The 24-hour sharps disposal depots are located at health unit offices
in Simcoe, Caledonia and Dunnville. Funding for the program has been
provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.
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MAP posted-by: Matt