Dozens in Sudbury may have received used needles in exchange program

Used needles are shown at a needle exchange in Miami, May 6, 2019. Lynne Sladky, THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP

An organization running a needle exchange program for harm reduction in Sudbury, Ont., says approximately 40 people may have received used needles over the last six months.

Reseau ACCESS Network, which distributes harm reduction supplies to those who use drugs, says a staff member recently found new and used equipment in a container for single-use needles.

It says those who received single-use syringes from its downtown Sudbury location between July 1, 2022 and Jan. 13 should be aware of a potential risk of exposure to bloodborne infections.

Read more: Ontario opioid death rate drops in 2022, coroner’s data shows

Executive Director Heidi Eisenhauer says her organization is reaching out to those who may have been exposed to hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and HIV virus as a result of the “lapse” in infection prevention and control.

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The organization says it’s offering testing and support to those affected and providing information to minimize the risk of transmitting a virus to others.

It also says the practice of distributing individual needles has been stopped until it can obtain sterile individually packaged needles and an investigation with Public Health Sudbury and Districts is underway.

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