Needle disposal discussed for Maple Ridge

FHA increasing funding for rig-dig programs but won't say how much

The City of Maple Ridge is trying to reduce the number of used needles lying around in parks

Maple Ridge and Fraser Health are working out a plan to reduce the number of used needles lying around city parks and playgrounds.

One strategy could involve creating a safe needle disposal committee.

A group composed of city staff, Fraser Health and members of the public will try to identify where used needles are found most. That information will then be passed on to programs in which users pick up needles.

Fraser Health could also put more money into that program in addition to organizing a public forum to explain the issue.

“We take the well-being of the public seriously and look forward to working with your team around this issue to develop an action plan,” Fraser Health medical health officer Dr. Shovita Padhi said in a Sept. 18 letter to the city.

Mayor Nicole Read has pushed for provincial help in collecting needles, which have been found with such frequency in Maple Ridge in recent months that residents have formed groups to go around collecting them.

The needles are one part of B.C. harm reduction programs, providing clean ones to drug users in order to stop the spread of disease.

“We are also increasing funding to peers to increase the number rig dig programs to pick up discarded needles around Maple Ridge,” the letters said.

Fraser Health spokesman Tasleem Juma said that may not mean hiring more people for the rig dig program, but instead increasing the hours of those involved now.

People are paid a daily rate to collect needles.

The rig dig program began in Maple Ridge in August and has been used in other cities. Those who participate are trained so they can safely collect the needles and are given sharps boxes. Rig dig programs are “internationally accepted as best practice,” Juma said.

They get users involved in cleaning up the needles, and is a way of providing education and support to the drug using community.

And so far, the feedback from the program has been positive. The rig dig workers also meet regularly with Fraser Health to tell them where lots of needles are being dropped.

Fraser Health and the city will meet soon to start the committee and plan a public forum on needle collection.

“We’re happy to provide that information to the public,” said Juma.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Residents treated for smoke inhalation after fire in Maple Ridge building

Fire took place in the 11800 block of Laity Street

Muse proceeds with cannabis store in Westgate Shopping Centre

Private retail store would be within 1,000m of proposed government store in Maple Ridge

VIDEO: Person falls from roof in Maple Ridge

Air ambulance was called but victim taken by ground instead

Friends do ‘amazing’ home makeover for retired police officer

Pitt Meadows RCMP veteran was away getting treatment for PTSD

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Displaced tenant ‘heartbroken’ to find Langley City condo robbed after fire

Wedding rings of Michelle Buchan’s have since been recovered, but much is still missing

Canucks fan risks life to celebrate at Surrey intersection

‘All fun and games until somebody falls out an open side door of the van’

Most Read