Jordan Harris did not like the fact I shared on social media my strong opinion regarding the used needles that are being found all over our community.
I also said in my social media post I am not opposed to Northern Health harm reduction programs, but what is happening is not at all acceptable. Northern Health is a leader in a number of programs and does incredible work in many areas but has dropped the ball with the Needle Exchange Program.
When a clean needle is given out, the used one does not have to be returned and therein lies the problem. The program might be a success with the fact that IV drug users are reducing the amount of needles that are being shared. The spread of needles has become much worse with the introduction of the health van that delivers needles and condoms to addicts and others throughout the community. I have great empathy for those struggling with addictions and have known a number of people who have died from some sort of substance abuse. The attitude of some that addicts don't have any responsibility to return their used needles does not help the situation.
The spread of used needles has become a serious safety issue in many of our residential and commercial areas. From children to the elderly, our community is being exposed to a preventable and uncalled for risk. The residents and business owners of our community deserve better.
What has been lost in this debate is the rights of businesses and individuals to live in a safe community free of used needles and condoms laying around. This issue has been a concern of mine for years and has been discussed in a number of meetings in and outside of city hall. I get calls, emails and social media messages on a regular basis regarding used needles.
I even spoke passionately about this at city council Monday night after a presentation from our staff that talked about the hiring of two extra staff dedicated to working downtown.
In one month, a five gallon bucket of used needles was picked up in the downtown.
That count does not include the needles that individuals pick up and dispose of on their own.
That is not in any way acceptable to myself and others.
Senior management at Northern Health needs to step up and address this issue in a serious and meaningful way.