Island Health and the City of Campbell River have partnered to make it easier to dispose of needles safely, thanks to the installation of five sharps disposal boxes in the community.
“Improperly discarded needles have become a concern in many communities across the Island Health region, and Island Health is working with local governments and agencies to address these concerns,” says Dr. Charmaine Enns, Medical Health Officer at Island Health. “The addition of these boxes in Campbell River will increase opportunity and encourage proper needle disposal in order to reduce litter from harm reduction supplies.”
The sharps disposal boxes, provided by Island Health, were recently installed at locations selected in consultation with partners including Parks and Bylaw staff, the Downtown Safer Working Group, AIDS Vancouver Island, the Campbell River Community Action Team and the Downtown Business Improvement Association.
“Through strong partnerships like the one we have with Island Health, we more effectively address challenges facing our community,” says Ron Neufeld, Deputy City Manager with the City of Campbell River. “This initiative is another example of local governments and health authorities working together to improve public safety and community well-being.”
Where can needles be safely disposed?
The yellow disposal box locations are:
- Nunn’s Creek Park – 16th Avenue, on the outside of washrooms by playground
- Centennial Building/Spirit Square – 1235 Shoppers Row, on the north side of building
- Tidemark Theatre – 1220 Shoppers Row, rear alleyway
- Robert Ostler Park – Island Highway 19A, on the edge of Longhouse parking lot
- Dogwood Walkway – 990 Cedar Street, behind Strathcona Regional District building near bottom of walkway
Usage of sharps boxes at the above locations will be monitored and the boxes may be moved if other locations are considered more effective. Additional boxes may be added at other locations in the community in the future.
Access to new needles is a critical harm reduction strategy to prevent and reduce the transmission of bloodborne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. Harm reduction supplies can also lead to increased access and referrals to support services and treatment.
Finding improperly discarded needles in the community can be unsettling. Fortunately, the risk of infection from an unintentional needle stick is very low. Anxiety and fear are the main cause of concern around improperly discarded needles, rather than an injury itself.
Island Health offers public education and awareness about how to pick up and properly dispose of needles. More information can be found at www.islandhealth.ca/safe-needle-disposal.
About Island Health
Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 794,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. With more than 21,000 staff and over 2,000 physician partners, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: Public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.
Island Health – Central/North Island media inquiries
City of Campbell River