Our team safely disposes of used needles and paraphernalia in the downtown core. During Summer 2018 within a few months of starting this pilot project we had safely disposed of 100 used syringes found outside. Our team has prioritized high traffic areas where the public often frequents as target areas for removal. Our outreach team is equipped with harm reduction supplies like Naloxone, condoms, and, safe needle kits.
We recognize the need for items like condoms. We believe that practicing safe sex not only promotes healthy communities, reducing unwanted pregnancies, but reduces the chance of disease transmission like Hepatitis and HIV. As the saying goes, “don’t be silly wrap your willy”
The volunteer Outreach workers always have Naloxone on hand. We are consistently being proactive in handing out these kits. In the midst of a Opiate epidemic this drug (free of charge) can reverse a Opiate overdose giving someone the chance to seek medical treatment. With individuals dying daily due to overdoses this is a tool we always have on hand to combat this epidemic.
Within this criteria we also identified a need for safe needle kits. We know that using drugs is never safe and we never approve of using, however individuals still choose to use and we believe we can help to reduce the harm associated with sharing needles and in turn reducing the transmission of disease. Diseases like HIV and Hepatitis cost the system millions of dollars per year. If we can stop the transmission of 1 case of HIV not only have we ensured the quality of that life but according to the CDC would have saved the tax payer roughly $379, 668.00 (2010 Dollars) Offering clean needle kits reduces the chance of transmission by directly reducing the need of sharing needles in this population.
Using illicit drugs is never safe and never advised. If we can reduce the harm associated with using these substances perhaps we could give this life opportunity for change. If someone is dead they can no longer seek treatment to better their life. We choose to Be The Change and make a difference in our communities.
Note: We do NOT purchase these items. All of the above items are donated by approved Alberta Health Services programs.