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.
[continues 585 words]
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
[continues 284 words]
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.
[continues 224 words]
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.
[continues 444 words]
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.
[continues 919 words]
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
[continues 709 words]
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.
[continues 391 words]
Life for the police in North Bay is going to become at least a little
more difficult. The city is going to lose its primary needle exchange
Police Chief Shawn Devine has warned that this will put the public and
others at risk. The Nipissing Detoxification and Substance Abuse
Program is slated to close in September. The North Bay Regional Health
Centre is cutting the program.
The report carried some alarming or amazing statistics about needle
exchanges. The ordinary citizen may wonder where or who are the people
using all these needles.
[continues 280 words]
Drug use in jail is a reality and reducing harm is vital, say Richard
Elliott and Rick Lines.
Almost one-third of federal prisoners reported using drugs during the
past six months.
In December 2016, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott committed her
government to a new national drug strategy that reinstates harm
reduction as a non-negotiable pillar. It was a welcome announcement,
signalling a modest shift away from the last decade's emphasis on
prohibition and punishment - policies that continue to kill people who
use drugs in Canada.
[continues 590 words]
An environmental group has collected another 50 used needles from
"That's a lot of used needles and we were only out there for an
hour-and-a-half," said Tracey Bucci, of the Grand River Environmental
Group, whose cleanup effort at Mohawk Park on Saturday attracted 13
"It has really become a major problem.
"Most of them had caps on them but many did not and that's a safety
concern for people, especially young children and pets."
[continues 457 words]
The members of the Middlesex-London Board of Health endorsed Thursday
evening a motion to take the "next steps" to set up a
supervised-injection site for drug users in London.
That essentially means determining what the method will be for moving
forward with the project. As part of that, there will be a public
consultation before setting up any such site, including talking to the
people in the chosen neighbourhood, including residents and business.
The first part of the three-pronged motion covered accepting a
feasibility study. Dr. Gayanne Hovhannisyan, the acting medical
officer of health, led the discussion.
[continues 68 words]
Volunteers clean up 1,000 discards a year in a city weighing
supervised drug injection site.
Tom Cull has more than 1,000 reasons - discarded needles - for London
to support a supervised drug injection site.
"We pick them up under bridges, along the watercourse, on the (river)
banks, in parks," he says.
Once a month, from the beginning of April to the start of winter, he
and his crew of volunteers with the Thames River Rally pick up garbage
along the river in London.
[continues 328 words]
A startling dissection of drug use in London - with the personal
illnesses and public ills exposed - has laid on the table a compelling
case for a supervised injection site in the city.
But the sticky questions of exactly where the site or sites should go,
whether the city can take the other steps necessary to make a site
worthwhile, and how crystal meth and fentanyl will play a role remain
The lead researcher of a study on providing supervised injection in
London did have one answer for residents still questioning the sanity
of giving people a place to inject their illicit drugs.
[continues 725 words]
Amid rising HIV rates and an entrenched needle culture, London
researchers will unveil Wednesday a study on the value of a supervised
injection site in the city.
Researchers interviewed 200 people who are or were injection drug
users to assess people's willingness to use the sites and about 20
representatives from health care, law enforcement, government and
community organizations to get feedback.
"There are several general recommendations based on the results of the
study," but no specific direction to any agency or organization,
Western University researcher Ayden Scheim said Monday.
[continues 377 words]
In Canada we are ruled by law, not by those who enforce the law or
wield government power.
Council must abandon the idea that laws can be enforced selectively
according to the whim or discretion of city staff or officials.
Similarly, a law cannot be considered "temporary" unless it specifies
an expiry date or condition.
Here is another feature of Canadian law that's not about to change: A
municipal government does not have legal authority to regulate
cannabis per se.
[continues 265 words]
When Ottawa recently announced a multi-pronged strategy to fight the
deadly fentanyl crisis - a strategy that includes supervised drug
consumption sites - Health Minister Jane Philpott boasted of "our
renewed, evidence-based approach to Canada's drug strategy."
If Ottawa is so keen on an evidence-based approach to drugs, why did
it walk away from mediation aimed at settling a lawsuit calling on the
government to provide needle exchanges in prisons? Mediation sessions
were scheduled this week but Ottawa's lawyers backed out at the last
minute. The lawsuit, brought in part by a former inmate who acquired
hepatitis C behind bars, is going forward.
[continues 348 words]
One woman relied on old needles used by her friend's diabetic husband.
Another settled for whatever syringes she could find.
But for the first time since they started using drugs several years ago,
both women have access to fresh syringes. They are getting them through a
needle exchange in Frankfort.
"If you can have a new one every time, why wouldn't you?" asked the
younger of the two women, who both spoke to the CJ on condition of
anonymity for fear of being stigmatized or getting fired. "I think it's
awesome that they're doing this.
[continues 1730 words]
Machines may be used to give addicts access to clean supplies
Ottawa Public Health is exploring a pilot project that would allow drug
users to access clean needles and pipes from a vending machine.
Deputy Medical Officer of Health Vera Etches said the idea goes back to
2013, when OPH hosted a needs assessment with feedback from community
groups and police looking at service gaps.
"Most services that distribute supplies so people will use sterile
supplies each time and decrease their risk of transmission operate Monday
to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.," she said. "There's no place for people
to access supplies overnight and on weekends."
[continues 228 words]
Needle-dispensing vending machines could be installed at five locations
across central Ottawa, making it the first city in Canada to offer sterile
syringes in machines to reduce drug-related virus transmission.
Vera Etches, the deputy medical officer of health, said Ottawa Public
Health hasn't yet decided what material would be available in the vending
machines, but needles and crack pipes are definite possibilities.
The machines would fill a gap in service for drug users who need clean
needles when a community program is closed for the day. There are no 24/7
services that provide clean needles.
[continues 514 words]