By Martin Wissmath, The Hinton Parklander
Does Hinton need a needle exchange program?
That’s the question HIV West Yellowhead is looking to answer when they conduct a survey next month for users of injection drugs.
The regional HIV prevention and education society has received approval from the Community Research Ethics Board of Alberta to send a street worker from Edmonton through the Yellowhead region to find out how many people here use needles to inject drugs, either the prescription or illegal kind. The survey will take place September 17 – 21.
“We do have people coming to our needle exchange here in Edmonton to get clean syringes,” said Rosemary Fayant of Streetworks — a community outreach program in the provincial capital.
“Most of the people who inject drugs, it’s prescription drugs that they’re injecting…a lot of our community, they take it orally, if it’s an injury at work or something, and they end up injecting them because they’re not getting the pain relief that they want.” Read more »
By James Keller, The Canadian Press (Published on The Tyee)
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Once a week, Jamie MacDonald walks down a quiet alley in this sprawling community in British Columbia's Fraser Valley, finds a familiar black SUV and picks up a package of clean needles, alcohol swabs and other supplies for injecting heroin.
MacDonald doesn't need the needles himself -- although he's addicted to heroin, he smokes the drug -- but he has friends who do.
He takes a paper bag containing about 20 or so needles, meets with friends and chats with an outreach worker from Vancouver's Portland Hotel Society, who visits Abbotsford every Thursday with syringes, crack pipes and other supplies designed to make the lives of drug addicts safer. Read more »
By: Stephanie Law, Toronto Star
Sex work, possession of drugs for personal use and nondisclosure of HIV should all be decriminalized, according to a report released Monday by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.
The commission, led by the United Nations Development Program, was launched in June 2010 to make recommendations on how laws can be changed and used to protect the human rights of people living with HIV, and to help fight the global HIV epidemic.
There were 14 commissioners from different countries involved in putting together the final report, “HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health,” including former heads of state and leading legal, human rights and HIV experts.
“Too many countries waste vital resources by enforcing archaic laws that ignore science and perpetuate stigma,” said former president of Brazil and commission chair Fernando Henrique Cardoso in a press release. “Now, more than ever, we have a chance to free future generations from the threat of HIV. We cannot allow injustice and intolerance to undercut this progress, especially in these tough economic times.” Read more »
The number of needles being exchanged at provincially-run centres on P.E.I. has doubled in the last two years.
The government took over the program from AIDS PEI in spring of 2009. The needles are provided to prevent the transmission of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
Since 2010, the number of needles exchanged has doubled from about 40,000 a year to 80,000. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said that doesn't necessarily mean there are more IV drug users in the province.
"We said right from the beginning when we started running this program, it takes time for clients to feel comfortable coming to needle exchange programs," said Morrison. Read more »
BY ELAINE O'CONNOR, THE SUNDAY PROVINCE
Abbotsford drug users - for years officially denied harm-reduction services in the conservative community - may soon have access to services such as addicts in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside have.
Faced with pressure from the health authority and advocacy groups, Abbotsford City Council will on May 28 review a 2005 zoning bylaw amendment prohibiting needle exchanges and safe- injection sites.
Mayor Bruce Banman, elected in 2011 on a pledge to make Abbotsford more progressive, said he's open to potentially scrapping the bylaw.
"From a humanitarian perspective, just because you're an addict doesn't mean you're entitled to less than the rest of us," Banman said. Read more »
Plunging into needle plan: Fraser Health sticks it to safe injection sites, suggests needle exchange is the best option for Abbotsford
BY ROCHELLE BAKER, THE TIMES
Fraser Health Authority released a proposed harm reduction plan centered around needle distribution for the City of Abbotsford on Monday.
The proposed plan, authored by FHA public health director David Portesi, does not propose establishing a safe injection site within Abbotsford.
The proposed needle exchange plan would likely need to serve a minimum of 500 intravenous drug users living in the Abbotsford area, and distribute about 120,000 needles annually, stated the report.
The top three suggested sites for a proposed needle exchange were near the Salvation Army's Centre of Hope along the West Railway corridor; a site near the intersection of Peardonville Road and South Fraser Way, or in the Jubilee Park area. Read more »
By Tracey Richardson, Owen Sound Sun Times
Intravenous drug users are exchanging dirty needles for clean ones at an increasing rate in Grey-Bruce.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit’s needle exchange program — an Ontario Public Health Standards requirement — has been steadily building since it began in late 2007.
Program manager Denna Leach said it’s because the message has been spreading by word of mouth and users have begun to trust the program.
There are four sites in the region for the needles exchange — the health unit in Owen Sound, a community centre in the city, the health unit sub office in Walkerton and a pharmacy in Hanover. Leach said talks are underway to bring the program to other communities as well. Read more »
By Courtney Mintenko: News Talk 650 CKOM
Needle use and safe injection sites have been controversial issues in Saskatchewan, but with our growing rate of HIV infections the conversation will need to continue.
Ann Livingston spoke at the University of Regina this week -- as one of the pioneers of Insite in Vancouver, she shared suggestions on what our province could do.
"Insite was originally set up to reduce overdoses, reduce public drug use and reduce the spread of bloodborne pathogens.
Saskatchewan may be far from safe injection sites, but Livingston feels something must be done. Read more »
By Andrea Klassen - Invermere Valley Echo
Needle disposal sites are coming to several Invermere public washrooms.
Interior Health and the District of Invermere will work together to install secure disposal sites for syringes in various spots around the community, which could include Kinsmen Beach and the Mount Nelson Athletic Park.
Public health nurses Crissy Stavrakov and Jeff Quinn were at district council September 12, and told councillors they've found used needles lying on the ground in public playgrounds and on hiking trails.
"We've also talked with pharmacists and they've been selling needles and not getting them back in the proper manner, or not getting them back at all," Quinn added. Read more »
By Stacey Roy, Smith Falls EMC
EMC News - The Smiths Falls Drug Strategy Committee wants to get used needles out of local parks and public spaces, so they are working with Health Unit staff to investigate the possibility of bringing in an interactive community program to town.
Jennifer Adams of the needle exchange program known as Clean Works explained the Needle Hunter program to committee members during their Aug. 31 meeting. The proposed program would have a hotline where members of the public could call in when they come across a used needle in a public space or empty apartment. The dispatcher would then send a trained volunteer out to the location to safely dispose of the needle into disposal box that exists at the Health Unit on Gould Street.
"We could provide all the necessary equipment," Adams said. Read more »
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