Source: Express (Nelson, B.C., Canada)
Contact1:  554 Ward Street, Nelson, B.C., Canada V1L 1S9
Pubdate: 12 Aug 1998
Author: Murray Greig


NELSON - The ANKORS needle exchange program will launch a mobile service
throughout the West Kootenay-Boundary on Aug. 17.

The program already has two fixed sites, at the Access Alcohol and Drug
Service office in Nelson and Trail Community Counselling services. The
mobile service will initially be provided through regular stops along three
routes: 1) Balfour-Kaslo-Edgwood-Playmor; 2) Trail-Rossland-Rock
Creek-Castlegar; and 3) Trail-Salmo-Ymir-Nelson-Slocan Park, with service
to most of the smaller communities in between.

"With this, the exchange program becomes part of a comprehensive approach
to the prevention of HIV among people who inject drugs, and the community
as a whole," said ANKORS needle exchange coordinator Alexander Lich. The
new service emphasizes what Lich calls "harm reduction philosophy." "Harm
reduction can be defined as a set of strategies and tactics that encourage
people who inject drugs to reduce the harm done to themselves and their
communities by their behavior," he said. "By providing users the means with
which to become healthier, we recognize their desire to protect themselves,
their loved ones and their communities.  By treating them with dignity and
respect, we are also seeking to build the self-esteem that may enable them
to eventually consider seeking recovery from their injection drug use."

The ANKORS needle exchange program initially provides a kit to people
making their first visit to an exchange site.  The kit contains a small
number of syringes, bleach, water, alcohol wipes, condoms and safe sex

"One of the program goals is to collect as many used syringes as new ones
goven out, so the program will not increase the total number of discarded
syringes," said Lich. "Needle exhange programs save lives cost-effectively.
 While a new needle costs about ten cents, the lifetime cost of treating a
person with AIDS starts at approximately $165,000."

For more information about specific locations and times for the mobile
service, call 505-5506. Out of town, call 1-800-421-2437.

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Checked-by: Mike Gogulski