There are now more needle drop boxes available in downtown Peterborough as part of a coordinated effort by several local health agencies and the City’s Public Works Division to increase community safety.
Four new boxes have been installed, one behind the Peterborough Library, one along the Millennium Trail, another on the eastern side of the Otonabee River near the train bridge, and a fourth in front the One Roof program, located at St John’s Anglican Church at 99 Brock St. These new boxes are in addition to the public needle boxes in front of the Canadian Mental Health Association – Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge (CMHA-HKPR) office at 466 George St. office and the Fire Station at 210 Sherbrooke St.
The initiative to expand the needle drop box program is a partnership of the PARN – Your Community AIDS Resource Network, Peterborough Public Health (PPH), CMHA-HKPR and the City of Peterborough.
“Needle exchange programs are a proven harm reduction initiative that decrease the spread of illness and connect people who use drugs with health professionals,” explained Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health with PPH. “We are pleased to see our community rally like this to promote safe needle disposal as we need to work together to support those struggling with addiction issues while keeping our community safe.”
On average, a total of 400,000 to 450,000 needles are distributed by PARN each year to local residents. This past year, approximately 90% of these needles have been returned to community agencies and pharmacies.
“Our experience tells us that people who use injection drugs want to dispose of their supplies safely,” says Kim Dolan, Executive Director at PARN. “Hundreds of people come through the doors of our agency every year to return used syringes. By placing these boxes at various points in the city, we will provide more options for people to return their used equipment and further reduce the instances when needles are found in public spaces.”
Mayor-elect Diane Therrien also endorsed this community effort. “The expanded needle drop box program will improve public safety and the safety of the individuals who are struggling with addiction. PARN, Peterborough Public Health, Canadian Mental Health Association, the City and many other agencies are working together to respond to this crisis in our community and to assist the individuals and families who are directly affected by drug addictions.”
If you find a used needle on public property, contact the Public Works Department of the City of Peterborough (705-745-1386) or the OPP (705-742-0401) in the County of Peterborough. Property owners are responsible for any used needles found on private property. Here are some tips on how to safely handle found needles:
- Wear rubber or puncture proof gloves
- Use tongs, pliers or tweezers to pick up needle(s)
- Place needle(s) in an approved yellow sharps container. You may get one of these from PARN (159 King Street, Suite 302 in Peterborough).
- Otherwise, place needle(s) in a puncture-proof container with a screw top lid (e.g. pop bottle, jar). Tape the lids closed if possible and label the container.
Do not throw out needles in the garbage or recycling bin.
Take the container for free disposal to one of the following locations:
- Household Hazardous Waste Depot (400 Pido Road)
- PARN (159 King Street, Suite 302 in Peterborough)
- Small containers can be placed in public needle drop boxes
For more information about needle exchange programs, please visit PARN at www.parn.ca.