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Kamloops to ask other municipalities for help and advice in dealing with needles epidemic

This bench across the street from Spirit Square can often be found littered with used drug paraphernalia like it was here on August 9, 2017.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/John Moman
September 06, 2017 - 9:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Many Kamloops residents would agree the number of used syringes littering the streets has gotten out of hand. In search of a solution, members of council will be turning to other cities in hopes of finding a solution.

At the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention later this month Kamloops councillors will share with the other communities what the city has gone through over the past couple months.

Social and Community Development supervisor Jen Casorso has been tasked to write the briefing notes for the councillors.

"The group of community partners and myself discussed the need for some form of sharps strategy and we thought if we felt this way, then surely there are other communities in the province and maybe this discussion needs to happen with our new Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and the Minister of Health."

They're opening another community may offer a proven solution, or the province signing on to provide some support.

"The hope is that it will highlight what's going on in Kamloops and they'll be able to discuss what that means for the rest of the province and other communities and how we're prepared to help support coming up with a strategy," says Casorso.

Interim Mayor Arjun Singh says he believes it is a good step to reach out to other communities for help, but would like to see Kamloops solve its own issues.

"I'm also hoping that we can do something internally without waiting for a provincial strategy if we have to," he says. "We have an immediate issue that we have to deal with and it's impacting people everyday."

Singh says he does believe asking the UBCM for help is a great plan and if the province is willing to help that's even better, but he wants to make sure we see results sooner rather than later.

"The key thing in my mind is that these processes and working together with the provincial government take time," he says. "And they always take some work from the bureaucracy so we have to be mindful of that."

For more on the epidemic of sharps being littered throughout Kamloops, go here.

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