Council okays needle exchange

Needle disposal sites are coming to several Invermere public washrooms.

Needle disposal sites are coming to several Invermere public washrooms.

Interior Health and the District of Invermere will work together to install secure disposal sites for syringes in various spots around the community, which could include Kinsmen Beach and the Mount Nelson Athletic Park.

Public health nurses Crissy Stavrakov and Jeff Quinn were at district council September 12, and told councillors they’ve found used needles lying on the ground in public playgrounds and on hiking trails.

“We’ve also talked with pharmacists and they’ve been selling needles and not getting them back in the proper manner, or not getting them back at all,” Quinn added.

While there is a disposal site at the Invermere Health Unit, Quinn said studies show public health facilities are typically used by fewer than 20 per cent of intravenous drug users.

“If there is a safe place to dispose of these needles hopefully you will have less of a chance of spreading communicable diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C to people who would otherwise not be exposed,” he added.

The boxes will be maintained and paid for by Interior Health, with the district covering installation costs. In addition to needle disposal, the units can also take glass stems used for smoking crack.

Stavrakov says similar boxes are already in place in Golden, which has a “busy, busy” needle exchange program.

“I think we’d be naive to assume there isn’t a population needing these services,” she added.

The boxes will likely be placed in washrooms, rather than outdoors, because needle use is more common in areas that afford some privacy, the nurses said. However, the district and Interior Health will also look at having some boxes be accessible at all hours.

“I think it’s long overdue, frankly,” councillor Bob Campsall said of the plan. “We know there is a problem with needle use and drug use in the valley, and it’s probably more urgent than people recognize… it’s better we get it in the open.”

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read