WATERLOO REGION - Regional councillors thanked the public health
department for its harm reduction efforts, but said more needs to be
done to ensure used needles aren't ending up in public spaces.
"I do appreciate the efforts of public health," Cambridge Mayor Doug
Craig said at a council meeting on Tuesday. "But we still have a problem."
The number of needles distributed through Waterloo Region's needle
syringe program has been rising steadily in recent years, reaching a
peak in 2017, according to a report presented this week.
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It was an idea born in the middle of a devastating epidemic with an
ever-rising death rate. It drew the ire of state officials, threats to
arrest those who operated it, and fears that it would encourage drug
use and addiction.
No, Philly did not just approve of 'Hamsterdam'
It was a needle exchange to prevent reusing hypodermic needles, and
the year was 1991.
Twenty-seven years later, those involved in the struggle to open
Prevention Point - still Philadelphia's only needle exchange - say the
parallels are clear between that fight and the city's decision to
encourage the opening of safe injection sites, where people in
addiction can inject drugs under medical supervision and access treatment.
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TALLAHASSEE -- Two years after lawmakers approved a needle-and-syringe
exchange program in Miami-Dade County, the House and Senate are
considering taking it statewide and expanding the types of providers
who can offer the services.
House and Senate health care-panels on Wednesday approved bills that
would allow hospitals, clinics, medical schools and substance-abuse
treatment programs to begin offering needle-and-syringe exchange
programs to try to reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV, which
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated cost nearly
$380,000 to treat over a lifetime.
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City considers ways to better protect employees and public
Victoria public works officials are examining protocols over the
handling of discarded hypodermic needles to better protect employees
and the public.
Fraser Work, Victoria director of engineering and public works, said
the city is looking at its own protocols in light of reports this
month of people encountering or being nicked by discarded needles.
"We take this issue very seriously, on behalf of our workers and the
public," said Work.
He attended a meeting on Wednesday with public health officials,
police, social service agencies and addict advocates to discuss recent
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Dangerously discarded needles could be part of plan to discredit
injection drug users and public health efforts to help them, says
Island Health's chief medical health officer.
Dr. Richard Stanwick told reporters that some people lack sympathy for
drug users and oppose measures such as needle exchanges. They might
even want to discredit both by leaving syringes outside for the public
to find or get jabbed.
"There are still people who see [drug addiction] as a moral failing
and bad choice rather than a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain,"
Stanwick said. "What we are really concerned about is making sure this
isn't some sort of effort to discredit efforts around harm reduction."
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Re: "Needle warning issued after 2 pricks in 2 days," Jan. 11.
I agree that it is distressing when a child or anyone else is pricked
by a foreign needle. However, the furor over this and similar
incidents overshadows the real problem that we have today with drug
and other substance abuse.
Until we address the poverty and homelessness problem that exists
today across the country, we will always have addictions. If the basic
level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is not met, people suffer. That
suffering hurts, and people find ways to numb the hurt. That way is
through substance abuse.
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Surveillance intimidates clients, staff at Inner City Health's safe
All is not rosy at Ottawa's first sanctioned safe injection site in
The executive director of Ottawa Inner City Health, which operates the
legal drug-taking site from a trailer at Shepherds of Good Hope, said
Ottawa police regularly have a cruiser parked by the steps to the facility.
"We are having really significant problems currently and we're hoping
we can resolve them," said Wendy Muckle.
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Dear editor: It was shocking to read that a parent and her
nine-year-old child had to take on the drug-needle problem in our
school grounds (Western News, Dec. 12).
That secret Queen's Park shed should never have been secret in the
first place. What with such a fuss being made about possible marijuana
shops anywhere within sight of schools, how can discarded needles go
on being all over the place, right at those schools?
Wendy Hyer, school district superintendent, seems not to realize what
her priorities should be, and therefore what we are paying her for.
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CAMBRIDGE - An innovative new peer-based pilot project will be
launched in Cambridge early next year with the aim of curbing improper
needle disposal in the community.
The project is a partnership between Region of Waterloo Public Health,
which will provide funding, Sanguen Health Centre and the City of Cambridge.
Along with removing needles through patrols and education, it will
offer employment and skill development to people who have experienced
substance abuse; they will be hired as the peer workers.
"There is no harm in trying other methods to connect people and get
them on board," said Violet Umanetz, Sanguen's outreach manager. "The
peers do so well working in the community."
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Like all parents, Nadine Remington wants to know her nine-year-old son
is safe while on school property.
But, the increasing problem of drug use on school property after hours
is heightening fears for her and other parents.
Earlier this week, Remington was told by her son who is in Grade 4 at
Queen's Park School that people were living in a shed on the school's
property and that he had seen a needle and matches nearby.
After a similar experience of the boy finding drug paraphernalia at
KVR Middle School while at camp this summer, she took his claims
seriously and headed out to the school to see it herself. Remington
and her husband didn't find anyone in the shed, but there was evidence
suggesting someone was living in it recently and a needle on the
ground at the door.
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Most pharmacies won't ask what needles are used for
Used needles or other sharps never have to be discarded in bottles,
garbage or public spaces because of the Safe Sharps Bring-Back Program.
The Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS) administers the program
for residential sharps users. Although it is not intended for people
who use intravenous drugs, most pharmacies won't ask what the needles
are being used for.
"The whole idea is about harm reduction," said Hugh Toner, pharmacist
owner of both Medicine Shoppe stores in Sydney.
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BIA expresses concern about T.O.'s first harm-reduction site
In a mere matter of months it seems the city's first harmreduction
site has turned one of Toronto's top tourist areas into a needle
Mark Garner, CEO and executive director of the Downtown Yonge BIA,
says they're seeing an "increased number of needles" within blocks of
The Works location on Victoria St. - in YongeDundas Square, in the
washrooms of Tim Hortons coffee shops and in laneways.
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Does Trudeau back harm reduction or not, ask Sandra Ka Hon Chu and
Implementing needle and syringe programs in federal prisons could
prevent numerous new HIV and Hepatitis C virus infections each year,
saving tens of millions of dollars.
Five years ago, we started a constitutional court case, because it was
clear that, despite the evidence, the previous government would never
agree to implement these health services in federal prisons.
But the Trudeau government has repeatedly declared its commitment to
harm reduction and evidence-based policy, to Charter rights, and to
the health and welfare of vulnerable Canadians. Prison-based needle
and syringe programs reflect all of these.
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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
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As little as five years ago, we imagine most people would have scoffed
at the idea of needing a special group to pick up discarded needles in
Though the Comox Valley is not as badly affected as others, which are
in the middle of a needle epidemic directly related to the opioid
crisis that has killed so many across B.C. in the last several years,
it isn't immune, either.
The provincial statistics for 2017 to date are horrifying. This
province has never faced a drug threat like that of fentanyl.
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A plan to increase the availability of needle containers in the
community is being welcomed by some city residents.
"I think it's a good idea," said Tracey Bucci, of the Grand River
"It would help reduce the risk of innocent people and animals from
becoming infected by discarded needles. However, addiction issues do
still need to be addressed because that's the root of the problem."
Bucci and her group of volunteers led clean-up efforts this year aimed
at collecting used syringes in the area of Mohawk Lake.
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PATERSON -- About a dozen men and women sat on hard plastic chairs
early Wednesday morning inside a conference room at the Well of Hope
Drop-In Center on Broadway, where a flat screen television broadcast
sports highlights on ESPN.
Some came for the free coffee. A sign said the limit was one cup per
hour. Others were there to use the showers and toilet facilities. A
57-year-old man who would only give his name as "Julius" was waiting
to see a nurse about a blister on his foot.
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Concern about dangers of discarded injection paraphernalia has
prompted the tattoo artist James Takeo to launch an online petition
which asks Welland city council to investigate installing sharps
containers in public places such as city parks.
Takeo said he posted the petition on social media during the second
week of this month. He said as of Tuesday it had racked up 715
signatures. He is pleasantly surprised by the response. The petition
says: "Too many times there have been incidences of needles being
improperly disposed of in city garbage cans or in other public places
in our community. This poses a safety risk for all members of the
community, especially city workers and staff who often must take the
responsibility of disposal of these sharps.
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LOWELL, Mass. -- They hide in weeds along hiking trails and in
playground grass. They wash into rivers and float downstream to land
on beaches. They pepper baseball dugouts, sidewalks and streets.
Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin crisis are turning up
In Portland, Maine, officials have collected more than 700 needles so
far this year, putting them on track to handily exceed the nearly 900
gathered in all of 2016. In March alone, San Francisco collected more
than 13,000 syringes, compared with only about 2,900 in the same month
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Efforts underway to establish a new needle exchange site in the
The North Parry Sound District Health Unit indicated in a release
Friday that harm reduction services, including the needle exchange
program, continue to operate in the community and that work is
underway to find ways to further increase access.
The release comes ahead of the closure at the end of the month of a
key needle exchange site located at the Nipissing Detoxification and
Substance Abuse Program on King Street. It's one of three exchange
sites in the city.
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