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Protect Public Health, Mandate Safety Needle Use in BC

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Statistics from Vancouver Island Health Authority show that between January 2008 and May 2010 the number of needles distributed exceeded the number of needles collected by 181,000 on South Vancouver Island alone.  A situation that likely has not improved in recent years.  Recently, a child in Victoria experienced a needle prick injury at a local park while on a school outing subsequently the Duncan Baseball Association has been finding needles on ball parks.  Improperly discarded needles on streets, in playgrounds and school yards in British Columbia are putting children and others in this province at risk of needle stick injuries with potentially severe health consequences.

While reducing the harm to injection drug users, we also need to reduce the risk of sharps injuries to the general public that result from improperly discarded needles.  The CDC estimates that almost 83% of injuries from hollowbore needles can be prevented with the use of safer sharps devices.  Ideally the needles distributed would have features that prevent reuse and needle stick injury such as the one from unitract.    The distribution of standard hypodermic needles needs to be limited or eliminated outside of clinical settings and the distribution of safer sharps devices needs to be mandated.    

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