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Canada: Needle-Exchange Program Opens Doors to City's Most Vulnerable Population

April 19, 2012

A Kenora detoxification center credits its needle-exchange program (NEP) for reducing rates of hepatitis C infection and helping reach the area's most vulnerable populations.

Kenora's NEP grew by 28 percent last year, handing out 69,340 needles. In Northwestern Ontario in 2011, the hepatitis C rate was 31.2 cases per 100,000 compared to Ontario's 39.9 per 100,000. The region's HIV rate is regarded as "negligible," or very low.

According to the Morning Star detoxification center's manager, Patti-Dryden Holmstrom, "The needle exchange is an entry-level service. People who might not access our service in any other way are coming through our doors to use that service."

Gillian Lunny, another manager, added, "Our needle-exchange programs are an open-door program for people who have very few doors open to them."

Dryden-Holmstrom said her staff has seen a shift in the use of opiate drugs, changing from the discontinued Oxycontin to heroin, as well as hydromorphine. Morning Star staff members see potential danger in this shift, as a user accustomed to taking 80 mg of Oxycontin could overdose on the same amount of hydromorphine.

Back to other news for April 2012

Adapted from:
Kenora Daily Miner and News
04.16.2012; Jon Thompson

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Ask Our Expert, David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., About Substance Use and HIV
Needle Exchange & HIV/AIDS: Canada

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