KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce says a new approach is needed with needle distribution in the community.
The chamber is speaking out because of what it claims "is an increased number of improperly discarded needles" in town that are "posing a risk to businesses, patrons of businesses and residents in certain areas."
The chamber wouldn't specify on problem areas, other than to say the influx of needles is occurring where drug use is most prevalent.
As a result of its concerns, the chamber has collaborated with the North Shore BIA and developed a list of recommendations:
- Empower the sharp distribution services to use their professional judgement on how many needles to distribute per user. This would require changes to existing and future needle distribution and funding.
- In each current and future needle distribution contract, include an appropriate amount of funding for trained FTEs who monitor and police high needle debris areas and work with the user population to deter and detect cases of overdose. This would be done at the street level and not out of an office.
- Be a continuum of care entry point for street level users and encourage them to seek care.
- Operate under the '4 Pillars' of enforcement, prevention, treatment and harm reduction.
The chamber says the recommendations also have the support of ASK Wellness and others.
"There was agreement on this from those on the front lines and also from those in the community, saying this would really help us out on all counts," says Vice-President Joshua Knaak. "And we've got 135 not-for profits as members of the chamber as well."
He says the recommendations will be debated at the BC Chamber of Commerce AGM in May and if they gain support the chamber will then lobby the province with them.
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