Boats, Beemers

We provide them free needles, then we pay them to pick up the dirty used needles

Editor, The News:

Re: Needle disposal discussed (The News, Oct. 14).

Phil Melnychuk wrote that Fraser Health and Maple Ridge are currently concocting a plan to reduce the number of used needles lying around city parks and playgrounds.

Fortunately, they even have on hand a number of people willing to pick up those needles for pay. That sounds like good idea.

Apparently the people who get our tax dollars to manage these so-called programs have even got a cute name for the activity of picking up used needles: “rig dig.”

And to make us all feel even more warm and fuzzy, we are being assured by Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma that “rig dig programs are internationally accepted as best practice.”

Then there is no need to question it any further.

Being a fortunate fellow who has no addiction to injection drugs, I don’t know what the heck the term ‘rig dig’ means. I would have called it what it is: dirty used needle gathering, or DUNG. But that wouldn’t be as popular.

Nor would it speak to the people they employ to pick up the used needles. Yes, the needle users. Yes, the same needles they got for free, then filled with drugs and injected into their veins, and then left in the parks and playgrounds.

It’s an odd loop we are funding in the name of helping the addicted and cleaning up the parks and playgrounds. We provide them with free needles. Then we pay them to pick up the dirty used needles, so they can buy more drugs.

And their incentive to leave needles in parks and playgrounds is funded by us. How is that helping?

I suppose it helps the drug traffickers buy boats and Beemers.

Grant Baker

Maple Ridge