Brantford hopes to reduce the number of used needles on the streets

Brantford is trying to solve the used needle problem in the city with a new disposal program.

“This is an effort to mitigate the number of needles found in public places,” Maria Visocchi, communications and community engagement director at the City of Brantford said.

The City of Brantford and the Brant County Health Unit launched a Harm Reduction – Safe Needle Retrieval and Disposal campaign on May 16.

Council approved the one-year pilot project in December 2017 as part of the Brantford-Brant Community Drugs Strategy to fight the opioid crisis and reduce drug use.

The City of Brantford partnered with the Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) and St. Leonard’s Community Services to increase the number of locations users can safely dispose of needles and, to educate residents and users about safe needle disposal and pick- up.

“We recognized the need for additional needle drop boxes in the community and together with our community partners now have more places for people to dispose of discarded needles safely,” Visocchi said.

The Harm Reduction – Needle Retrieval and Disposal Plan hopes to reduce the number of used needles found on public property with public awareness and engagement; increasing access to needle disposal locations; proactive needle discovery; and tracking and evaluation.

St. Leonard’s Community Services is also expanding its needle exchange with evening hours and is looking for ways to expand its number of locations people can exchange needles to encourage higher return rates.

The BCHU will hire full-time community health brokers, who will co-ordinate finding needles and cleanup efforts with volunteer co-ordination, community outreach concerning harm reduction and safe needle disposal.

The Health Unit is also working on a plan to train and equip a volunteer team that will patrol high priority areas regularly and dispose of needles.

The team will also educate residents about properly disposing needles and what to do if they find needles.

Anyone planning a community clean up event is encouraged to call the Health Unit for safe needle disposal education and supplies.

“This initiative is an important part of the Health Unit’s harm reduction work,” Christina Rajsic, director, program standards said.

“Our goal is to improve the safety of our community by reducing the needles discarded on City and private property.”

Needles should never be thrown in the garbage, recycling, or flushed down the toilet.

If someone finds a needle on their property they should be cautious and take the proper steps to pick it up and dispose of it to keep themselves and others safe. The steps are on the Brant County Health Unit website.

“People use needles for many different reasons. The needle drop boxes are a place to dispose of needles, and a place to do so safely so that no one gets hurt accidentally,” Rajsic said. The needle drop boxes are also available for people to throw out needles found on their private property.

For needles found on public property call the City of Brantford at 519-759-4150.

For needles found on private property call the Brant County Health Unit at 519-753-4937.

24 hour needle drop boxes can be found at:

  • Adjacent to Hope Pharmacy – 349 Colborne St. (NEW)
  • Brant’s Crossing Park – 150 Icomm Dr. (NEW)
  • Side parking lot of Brantford Civic Centre – 69-79 Market St. (NEW)
  • Outside St. Leonard’s Community Services, 225 Fairview Dr.
  • Outside St. Leonard’s Community Services, 133 Elgin St.

Drop boxes can also be accessed during regular business hours at:

  • The Brantford Clinic – 205 Colborne St.
  • Towards Recovery – 95 Darling Street
  • Colborne Street Clinic – 349 Colborne St.

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