Two more used needle disposal boxes are being installed in the community following a request made to the District of Houston council.
One will be placed at the community hall parking lot targeting the Ambassador and Cataline Court route and the other at the playground/duck pond entry access, located near apartment housing in the Hagman area.
While we have one large drop box by the health centre, which is used frequently, there are still sharps being found in several specific locations of the community,” wrote the Houston Harm Reduction Committee in making its request to council.
“Research suggests that intravenous drug users change their needle-disposal behaviour in response to increased safe disposal options.”
“We would like to clarify that not all community members that unsafely dispose of sharps are illegal drug users and that options in sharps disposal are also beneficial for those using sharps for medical purposes,” the committee request continued.
The Houston Harm Reduction Committee is a committee of the Northern Health Authority and is made up of community members and representatives.
It has been active in dealing with drug use in the community, holding several recent meetings to gather opinions and to stimulate discussion.
The metal boxes are of the same design used by the City of Prince George’s waste management department.
There are two other used needles disposal boxes in the community, one at the mall and the other at the 7-11.
The health centre, in addition to providing safe injection kits, also distributes sharps disposal containers for people to use.
As of the last reporting, Northern Health has distributed approximately 3,000 needles in Houston along with 100 disposal units.
“We distribute sharps containers, we ask people to bring back their used needles, and we let people know that this is an expectation. Based on this approach, we do recover 90-95 per cent of the needles we distribute regionally,” Northern Health official Eryn Collins said in an earlier interview.
Health centre employees will, if asked, pick up used needles that have been discarded in the community.
A local paramedic also volunteers, when on-call for the B.C. Ambulance Service, to pick up needles, crack pipes and meth pipes, often in the company of an RCMP officer.