Regarding Needle Disposal Bins

‘Twas a week of letter writing apparently, below is my submission to City Council on the issue of the installation of more needle collection bins in London. You can see the London Free Press article on the issue here.

To the Community Services Committee and London City Council,

I would like to make comment on the issue of recently installed additional needle collection bins. As a professor whose research covers homelessness and health, I have followed with great interest the activities around London CAReS since the original report in December of 2007. I believe that it reflects very well on Council to have been proactive in addressing issues around addictions and homelessness in our community, rather than putting off the concerns to other orders of government. Needle bins are indeed an important component of a comprehensive response to addiction, while also having the added benefit of community safety. Although ‘harm reduction’ is not popular terminology in some circles, it does not take complex science to understand that in order to treat addictions, step one is keeping the addict alive.

I trust that the memory of Council is longer than that of the general public, and you will recall the concerns of needles found in public spaces and spaces utilized by children. Needle bins, although described by a few as ‘unsightly’, are both part of best practices in responding to addictions, and are a significantly better alternative to our former state of haphazard disposal. If you find yourselves requiring further research to assist you with decision-making, I would be happy to serve as a resource to your staff.

Thank you for your time,

Abe Oudshoorn, RN, PhD

3 thoughts on “Regarding Needle Disposal Bins

  1. Its a bit confusing why merchants are so upset over these, I think I read somewhere that the needle bins were passed in September by the city, and I can remember in September the news airing a video of two inviduals injecting drugs in an ally just off of Dundas Street. If this was passed in September, wouldn’t it been a response (as a strategy not a solution) to the concerns being raised in September after that news story was aired?

    • I agree, Tara. The thing is, any citizen or citizen group at any time can re-open an issue by bringing a concern to committee. If they wanted, they could literally submit the same letter every month to be addressed by committee.

  2. My confusion lies on why anyone would want to get rid of such an important program!? when there are What….100,000 needles that are collected each year within this City. If they are taken away, then what happens to the 100,000. Personally, the few that end up on the ground don’t seem so bad. Since when does “they don’t look nice” any reason to take away something so utterly and obviously important.

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