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Needle drop box program expanded in downtown Peterborough

Four new needle drop boxes have been setup in downtown Peterborough.
Four new needle drop boxes have been setup in downtown Peterborough. Sarah Deeth/CHEX News

Four more needle drop boxes have been installed in downtown Peterborough.

The boxes — installed by several health agencies and the city’s public works division — can be found behind the Peterborough Library on Aylmer Street, on the Millennium trail, on the east side of the Otonabee River near the train bridge and in front of the One Roof program at St. John’s Anglican Church on Brock Street.

READ MORE: Health officials push for safe injection site in Peterborough to tackle opioid crisis

The new locations complement current boxes in front of the  Canadian Mental Health Association (Haliburton-Kawartha Pine Ridge) office on George Street and the Peterborough Fire Services station on Sherbrooke Street.

The project included Peterborough Public Health (PPH), PARN, the CMHA and the City of Peterborough.

“Needle exchange programs are a proven harm reduction initiative that decrease the spread of illness and connect people who use drugs with health professionals,” stated Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, PPH’s medical officer of health.

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“We are pleased to see our community rally like this to promote safe needle disposal as we need to work together to support those struggling with addiction issues while keeping our community safe.”

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PARN says on average it distributes 400,000 to 450,000 needles annually to residents. The organization says last year approximately 90 per cent of the needles were returned to community agencies and pharmacies.

“Our experience tells us that people who use injection drugs want to dispose of their supplies safely,” stated Kim Dolan, PARN executive director.

“Hundreds of people come through the doors of our agency every year to return used syringes. By placing these boxes at various points in the city, we will provide more options for people to return their used equipment and further reduce the instances when needles are found in public spaces.”

READ MORE: Ontario to keep safe injection sites as part of new model

In a statement, Peterborough mayor-elect Diane Therrien also endorsed the project.

“The expanded needle drop box program will improve public safety and the safety of the individuals who are struggling with addiction,” she stated. “PARN, Peterborough Public Health, Canadian Mental Health Association, the City and many other agencies are working together to respond to this crisis in our community and to assist the individuals and families who are directly affected by drug addictions.”

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Peterborough Public Health advises if you find a used needle on a public property, to contact public works at 705-745-1386 or Peterborough County OPP. Property owners are responsible for any used needles found on private property.

Other tips for collection and disposal:

  • Wear rubber or puncture-proof gloves
  • Use tongs, pliers or tweezers to pick up needle(s)
  • Place needle(s) in an approved yellow sharps container (available at PARN on 159 King St., Suite 302 in Peterborough)
  • Otherwise, place needle(s) in a puncture-proof container with a screw top lid (e.g. pop bottle, jar). Tape the lids
    closed if possible and label the container.
  • Do not throw out needles in the garbage or recycling bin
  • Take the container for free disposal to one of the following locations: Household Hazardous Waste Depot (400 Pido Rd.), PARN (159 King St., Suite 302 in Peterborough); small containers can be placed in public needle drop boxes

For more information about needle exchange programs, please visit PARN at www.parn.ca.