Saturday, February 27, 2021

Councillor hoping to improve the Needle-Syringe Program

A Wallaceburg Councillor is hoping to have staff take a look at improving the Needle-Syringe Program in Chatham-Kent.

Councillor Aaron Hall entered a notice of motion back on December 9, 2019 and will be discussing the motion at the Monday, January 13, 2020 Council meeting.

Hall pointed to a number of reasons in his motion to look further into the program.

“Businesses partnering with the program are facing challenges with a lack of adequate disposal supplies, putting a burden on their business/organization and their employees,” Hall said in his motion.

“Needles are used by a wide range of community members, including people with medical conditions, and people who use substances.”

Hall added that various municipal departments continue to receive calls regarding reports of found needles, “making it difficult to geographically track the calls and target interventions where truly needed.

“CK Public Health and its partners continue to face challenges in terms of expanding the needle disposal kiosk initiative, largely due to logistical and financial limitations,” Hall said.

“When needles are discarded improperly in a public place, it is often a result of not having easy access to safe disposal.”

Hall is asking administration to investigate and provide recommendations to Council to improve the Needle-Syringe Program.

Hall said the report would include an analysis and options for improving the following:

– The distribution model that includes community partner depots and the
community outreach program.

– The bulk purchase of supplies for the program.

– The ‘Yellow Umbrella’ mobile outreach service.

– The education messaging and materials for safe needle disposal.

– The number of locations where harm reduction supplies can be safely disposed of.

– Options for outdoor needle disposal kiosks.

– The municipal process for when calls are received regarding needles found out in the community.

In the making of the report, Hall is also asking staff to engage in consultation with Aids Committee of Windsor, who currently runs the program, along with other partners across the Chatham-Kent community, including the Chatham-Kent Drug Awareness Council.

Hall said in his motion to direct staff to “explore alternative partnerships within Chatham-Kent” to provide the program moving forward.

“This report would be completed in collaboration with the future/pending Municipal Drug Strategy, which is being discussed during the 2020 budget sessions,” Hall said in his motion.

If approved, Hall said he is requesting that staff report back to Council by June of this year.

Monday’s Council meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. and is being held at the Civic Centre in Chatham.

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