P.E.I. Health minister Doug Currie says the provincial needle exchange program recently expanded to Souris.

There were already offices in Charlottetown, Summerside, Alberton and Montague.

Public Health gives out free, clean needles and collects used ones. 

The goal of the program is to encourage drug users to stop sharing needles and therefore reduce the levels of Hepatitis C and HIV.

Currie said the new Souris program is offered on Wednesday afternoons in the lower level of the Souris hospital.

“It's about access and it's about getting out into the communities and this is really a good public health practice,” he said. “The needle exchange program offers a range of different things like counseling and health teaching and prevention.”                             

The province took over the provincial needle exchange program from AIDS P.E.I. in 2009.

Currie noted the number of needles distributed and returned has increased from approximately 34,000 in 2010 to 153,000 in 2013.