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Canada: City Programs Aim to Clean Up Used Needles -- Community Groups Concerned About Drug Use in Neighborhoods

June 28, 2012

The city of Hamilton is planning to launch new programs to cut down on used needles discarded in its neighborhoods. About 100 complaints were received regarding discarded needles last year, including some from city staff who found them during road work or park maintenance. The programs await ratification from the council.

The three new initiatives approved by the board of health on June 18 are: training outdoor staff to safely deal with used syringes; increasing hours for the city's safe needle-disposal van; and hiring a social worker to help shelter employees work with addicted clients.

The van initiative comes after the April closure of one of the city's few needle-exchange programs, located at Marchese Health Care. The NEP at the Wesley Center, which had operated daily around the clock, ended in July 2010. Only one NEP remains, at Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Center, and it runs only on the third Saturday morning of each month.

Drug users soon will have access to the needle-disposal van from 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday nights. "We need to be out there and be proactive -- it's unfortunate -- but at the time the service is needed," said Councilor Jason Farr. His downtown ward includes the Beasley Neighborhood, whose association has raised concerns about the impact of drug use.

When the social worker is added to the staff, the goal will be to help train shelter employees to "develop strategies and skills to deal with difficult clients with addictions," according to city staff.

Back to other news for June 2012

Adapted from:
Hamilton Spectator
06.19.2012; Emma Reilly

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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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