June 09, 2016 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - Syringe drop bins have been installed in Riverside Park and Pioneer Park in Kamloops in an effort to prevent them from being carelessly discarded.
The city's social development supervisor Jen Casorso says a bin was installed for illicit drug users at the Heritage House washroom a couple months ago, with two more locations at the washroom in Riverside Park and one at the Pioneer Park washroom over the past couple of weeks. The Parkview Activity Centre at McDonald Park will be receiving one soon.
“Right now what we focused on was where were we seeing a high number of needles,” Casorso says.
The city worked with RCMP, downtown Customer Care and Patrol teams and organizations involved in harm reduction to determine where the sharps collectors should go, she says. The program may expand or evolve, depending on how the initial five locations are used.
“I’ve spoken with some of our folks that are more street entrenched,” she says. “They’ve identified a few other locations.”
The bins, worth about $60, will be monitored by parks staff as part of their regular routines.
Casorso says needle drop bins were used by the city in the past to keep needles off the ground, but the program was cancelled. She doesn’t know why, but has heard vandalism might have been the cause.
The bins can be used by anyone who has syringes to dispose of, like people with diabetes.
The city is working with the Interior Health Authority on an education plan to introduce the public to the bins. Part of that is to explain the bins are not the ideal way to dispose of used needles, but a better alternative to leaving them on the ground. Casorso says the city would prefer needle users to return the needles to the organization or company they got them from, or dispose of them in their own containers.
Recently Kamloops has seen an unprecedented number of needles collected from public areas.
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