Girl pricked by used needle at Kamloops arena

By Vanessa Ybarra
October 6, 2017 - 4:58pm Updated: October 7, 2017 - 10:38am

KAMLOOPS — It was a troubling discovery.

Earlier this week, a five and seven-year-old girl were playing with their dolls in the family washroom at the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre.

The younger girl went to to pull down the changetable when a syringe fell out, pricking her finger.

Her parents, who wished to remain anonoymous, rushed her to hospital where she underwent a blood test.

"Certainly it's devestating for anyone to go through that experience," said Jennifer Casorso, Social and Community Development Supervisor for the City of Kamloops. "I have two young kids myself and I can only imagine the trauma they're experiencing right now."

Casorso says the city is reviewing its inspection protocols as part of its investigation into the incident.

"Part of the incident reporting process is to review all of those protcols and work with our risk management team to find out what will be the best policy to put in place."

The city's installed six disposal units where people can put their used needles throughout the city, with that number expected to go up.

The city says it will be installing more disposal bins throughout the city as of next week.

It won't guarantee an incident like this week's won't happen again, but they say it's a step in the right direction.

"In partnership with Interior Health, we're going to be rolling out upwards of 80 sharps bins in the next two weeks," said Casorso. "It's an opportunity to be a bit more inclusive with everyone in the community and help with this public safety concern."

Kamloops' discarded needle issue is one Alexis Prouix has seen first hand.

"We probably pick up anywhere from five to 10 a day," said Prouix.

Prouix is a member of the Downtown Kamloops' Customer Care and Patrol team.

Every day they scour parks and alleys, picking up needles and emptying needle bins.

"The alleys are mostly where we find all of our sharps," said Prouix. "We don't find too much on the main street just because it's too out in the open for people to use. It's a 12 per cent increase we're seeing this year versus last year."

While the extra bins are hoped to cut down on the issue, the city says the province needs to step up for any substantial change to happen.

"One of our pitches to them was that they need to look at a province-wide funded disposal strategy in addition to dealing with the opioid crisis because the impact is being felt on the community."

The five-year-old girl is expected to receive her blood test results in the next two weeks.

Anyone who finds a discarded needle is asked to phone or text 778-257-1292 or email [email protected]

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