Region educates drug users on proper needle disposal

Waterloo Region's Public Health Unit wants to keep used drug needles from ending up at parks and playgrounds. But sometimes that doesn't happen.

Public health working with community partners to ensure used needles end up in the proper place

(Twitter: @NeilHyde)

The Region's Public Health Unit wants to keep used drug needles from ending up at parks and playgrounds.

But they recognize sometimes that may happen.

"One of the things public health is working on right now is pulling together that group of community partners to look at, what are ways or what are things that we can do to improve disposal," Chris Harold, Acting Manager of the Harm Reduction Program told CBC News.

"And we're looking at it from an individual level, the individual who might use drugs [and] from the community level, in terms of the general public and the effect it has on them. As well, [looking at] as some of our organizational systems in place." 

Over 450 people have been added this year to the program's list of 8200 drug users who have accessed the region's treatment services.

Syringe disposal locations

Right now there are a number of syringe disposal units at various locations around the region.

As part of the region's Harm Reduction Program, public health along with its community partners educate users about the proper disposal of drug equipment.

"One recent initiative that we've done is tear-off sheets, where they're being handed out to people or included in supplies that we're distributing," said Harold.

"We've also given them to our colleagues at Waterloo Regional police. That list [has] the location and the times where harm reduction equipment can be disposed of properly and returned."

A list of syringe disposal sites in Waterloo region.

Find a used syringe? Do this

If you do come across a syringe, don't touch it. Chris Harold suggests you call a bylaw officer in your municipality.

"A lot of the response depends on where you find the syringe. For example, it is municipal property you should contact your local municipality...If it's private property then it's usually up to the owner of that property to resolve the problem."

Report it, don't touch it but do ensure children and pets can't get at it, either.