Council seeking more information about safe needle disposal kiosks for Wingham area

·2 min read

NORTH HURON – Safe disposal kiosks for needles and other sharps may be placed in Wingham, as part of a harm reduction strategy by Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH). Michelle Carter, Public Health Nurse, presented the idea to North Huron Council on Nov. 2, 2020.

Keeping people safe is the number one priority of HPPH, and the installation of these kiosks would help to alleviate the discarding of needles on public and private property.

Deputy Reeve Trevor Seip put forward a motion to have staff prepare a detailed report with council recommendations in moving forward with this initiative, and councillors agreed.

Carter said the drugs of choice in the Wingham area are mainly methamphetamine and fentanyl, which can be taken in several different ways. Needles and glass pipes are sometimes used, and she added that these are the items that are sometimes found discarded.

These items can be dangerous. The possibility of contracting HIV or hepatitis C or B from contact with them is one warning from HPPH.

Carter also pointed out that not all of the sharps (needles) come from illegal drug users. People also use them for things like diabetes. They also use safe disposal kiosks.

Harm reduction strategies surrounding drug use recognize that abstaining from drugs may not be realistic or even desirable for everyone.

Harm reduction strategies are community-based, user-driven, nonjudgmental, and address systems that isolate and marginalize individuals, Carter said in her presentation to council.

Harm reduction program activities locally:

-Improving access to services providing sterile, single-use supplies

-Educating individuals about safer drug use practices to reduce risky behaviour. Educating front line service providers.

-Preventing transmission of blood-borne viruses and pathogens between individuals, e.g., HIV, hepatitis C, and B and various sexually transmitted infections – disposal of sharps.

-Reducing the risk of overdose through the distribution of prevention kits – naloxone education and distribution.

-Multi-sector drug strategy table across Huron and Perth counties.

-Supporting community safety and wellbeing plans being created by municipalities.

Information on what to do if you find a used needle or pipe is available on the HPPH website.

Also, you can find more information on the needle exchange program and kiosks’ locations in the area on the HPPH website.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times