Kamloops Chamber calls for 'common sense' approach to sharps distribution - InfoNews

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Kamloops Chamber calls for 'common sense' approach to sharps distribution

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February 27, 2018 - 5:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce is asking for 'common sense' amendments when it comes to needle distribution in the area.

There's been an increase in the number of improperly discarded needles in certain areas of the city, according to a news release by the chamber's vice-president of the board of directors, Joshua Knaak.

Residents, outreach workers and business associations in the city have been vocal about the need for a more organized approach to sharps disposal in the past.

It was also an issue brought up by city staff at the Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting last year.

He adds that the increase is posing a risk to businesses, patrons and residents. The chamber is recommending amending service contracts with needle distributors to allow them to use judgement in how many needles to provide to each user.

The release states that sharps distribution services have expanded through B.C. communities over the past several months, with the services providing needles to drug users at no cost and in whatever amount the user requests.

Ongoing contact between users and agencies is crucial to improving the user's situation, the release states, adding that increasing the number of contacts between users and needle providers provides more opportunity for wrap-around services to help the user.

The chamber says unrestricted access to needles removes accountability for needle management and disposal by users, and jeopardizes the health and safety of others in the community.

The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce along with the North Shore Business Improvement Association have worked to develop recommendations to the provincial government, including empowering distribution services to use their judgement on how many needles to provide per user, and funding for trained professionals to monitor and police high needle debris areas, work with the user population to deter and detect cases of overdose, encourage users to seek care and operate under the four pillars of enforcement, prevention, treatment and harm reduction.

Knaak adds that the recommendations are supported by the North Shore Business Improvement Association, along with Bob Hughes, executive director of ASK Wellness.

  • If you find discarded needles or other drug paraphernalia anywhere in the city, contact the ASK Wellness Society via phone or text at 778-257-1292 or email ODP433@askwellness.ca
  • If you find discarded needles or other drug-related materials in the downtown area, you can call the CAP team at 250-572-3009.
  • To learn how to dispose of needles safely and about services available to at-risk youth in our community, go here.
  • If you are interested in having a sharps container installed at your business or in your community, please contact the ASK Wellness Society via phone or text at 778-257-1292 or email ODP433@askwellness.ca

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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