Queen City Patrol marks one year of removing needles from Regina streets

·2 min read

A group trained to dispose of used drug paraphernalia by Biomed Recovery and Disposal in Regina has officially hit their one-year anniversary.

Patty Will is the founder of Queen City Patrol, a non-profit, volunteer-based group that drives around Regina to pick up and dispose of used paraphernalia, like needles.

She said since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the group has been a lot busier than usual.

"With everybody not being able to go out to enjoy themselves, they're finding other ways to spend their time and their money," Will said.

This past Thursday was the group's one-year anniversary and Will said they had a celebration on Saturday which included a patrol and an escape room.

When looking back at the past year, Will said there is a lot that stands out to her.

"We've gotten a lot closer, a lot of good friends that came out of this, we have removed just over 27,000 needles off the streets of Regina," Will said. "We're hoping that we can continue doing this."

Submitted by Patty Will
Submitted by Patty Will

Talks of safe injection site for Regina

Will said she is looking forward to hopefully working with the new city council in Regina to get a safe injection site in the city, which she said will help curb overdoses.

"I think that would be our end goal, to work with the city to get that done and possibly even help out with the safe injection site on an ongoing basis from there," Will said. "We honestly feel that would help make a big, big difference in Regina."

She said opening a safe injection site in Regina would give drug users a central and safe location and would deter them from using in public spaces or outside when it's cold.

There have been 93 apparent drug overdose deaths in Regina so far in 2020 — more than four times the amount of overdoses in 2019, which was 16.

On Nov. 23, four men in their 30's were found dead from suspected overdoses. Investigators said they don't believe the deaths or locations are related but said fentanyl was involved in each case.

Will said she believes some of the recent overdose cases have to do with people reusing needles.

"If they had fentanyl, let's say in their last drug of choice, and are reusing it now, that's a double dose of fentanyl," Will said.

She said while Queen City Patrol doesn't offer new needles for drug users, they have naloxone on board their van and offer training to anybody who requests it.

Will said Queen City Patrol offers residential visits and needle removal as well.

"If a landlord or property manager comes into their house and there's quite a few needles in there, all they would have to do is give us a call and we can go in there and remove the needles for them."