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More needle disposal containers coming to Kamloops

Kamloops will be getting 20 to 30 more sharps disposal containers similar to this one at Heritage House in Riverside Park.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
August 25, 2017 - 12:11 PM

KAMLOOPS - Thanks to funding from the Interior Health Authority, the City of Kamloops has announced 20 to 30 new needle disposal containers will be installed to combat the growing epidemic of discarded syringes at drug-use hot spots.

Corporate Services and Community Safety director David Duckworth says the City will be responsible for installing the bins as well as retrieving and bringing them to one of three collection sites. Interior Health staff will be responsible for the disposal of the needles.

"We hope that this strategy will help minimize the number of needles that are discarded in public spaces," Duckworth says. "We are told that most people who are users will properly discard (the syringes) if there's a bin close to where they generally consume their drugs."

Before the City's announcement, North Shore resident Tracy Robinson tried to help by purchasing and installing a sharps container for used syringes at the east end of the Rivers Trail near McDonald Park.

"I went to the drug store in North Hills and asked for a sharps container," she says. "They offered me two sizes and gave me one for free. Once it filled up you take it back and you can put another one up. So I took that and put it up with zip ties on the path."

Robinson says the bin started to fill up and she noticed fewer needles on the ground. However, she never got the chance to return the box to the drug store to get it emptied.

"It was left there and it was being used, but then I went there one day and it was gone," she says. "I wasn't sure if the City took it down or if somebody came along and ripped it down."

Duckworth says it city staff didn't remove the sharps bin, adding while it's great to see residents trying help the community there are other ways to do it.

"If they know of certain locations where something's happening and we can provide a sharps bin at a decent location where it can actually be secured to something than we encourage the public to contact the City and we'll see what we can do as opposed to having someone trying to take measures into their own hands," he says.

Duckworth says an increase in improperly discarded needles as well as panhandling and other side-effects of the homeless crisis are being felt throughout the Interior and this is not just a Kamloops issue.

He says with the recent spike in the reckless littering of dangerous drug paraphernalia reaching a level he has never seen before, the measures being taken right now are simply the best hope to bring an end to the ordeal.

To report any needles you have found call or text 778-257-1292 or email ODP433@askwellness.ca. If you find discarded drug paraphernalia downtown, call the CAP Team at 250-572-3009.

For more on the needles epidemic in Kamloops, go here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Mike McDonald or call 250-819-3723 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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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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