We would like to clarify the title of the article “Council okays needle exchange” written by Andrea Klassen in the September 21 edition of the Echo.
On September 13 we proposed to council that we work together to put up sharps containers in public washrooms. These receptacles are for needles and other paraphernalia associated with recreational or medically necessary drugs.
A needle exchange is something altogether different, a program that we currently have in place at the Health Unit.
The Invermere Needle Exchange has been running for many years out of the health unit and is limited to exchanging used needles or crack pipes for clean paraphernalia.
Even with our harm reduction program operating at the health unit, it does not meet the complete needs of the community as needles and other apparatus are occasionally found in public places.
The sharps containers in the community offer a more convenient disposal option. Just as garbage cans around the community helps to reduce apparent litter, accessible sharps containers have been shown to reduce exposure to needles, which in turn reduces exposure to the communicable diseases they may carry.
Jeff Quinn, RN
Crissy Stavrakov, RN
Invermere Public Health Unit