Needles are part of the detritus as a nuisance house in Woodinville Wednesday morning on July 11, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Interior Health against needle buyback programs

IH issues formal release stating buyback programs are not feasible

Interior Health has come out against used needle buyback programs after news a Penticton pharmacy started a program to deal with the discarded needle problem in the Peach City.

Sunrise Pharmacy (located at 749 Main St.), is offering five cents for every used needle brought into the pharmacy so they can safely transport them to Interior Health to be disposed of. The program has been going on just over a week and more than 1,000 needles have been turned in.

Related: Penticton pharmacy offering used needle return program

In a news release issued Friday, IH stated other communities across B.C. have tried implement similar programs and they were not feasible.

Reasons cited include safety concerns relating to examining and counting of needles and the increased chance of being poked. Other concerns listed were: offering to pay people for used needles might result in people stealing or breaking into sharps containers and people requesting needles and then returning them unused to make a profit.

IH is currently working with municipalities to install new larger industrial sharps bins in hot-spot areas to increase easy access to safe disposal options. Personal sharps containers distributed in communities has also been increased, the release stated.

IH public health centres, mental health and substance use and primary care clinics, community agencies who distribute harm reduction supplies also properly dispose of needles.

“We want to thank organizations and individuals seeking out ways to make improvements, and invite them to discuss their ideas with their Community Action Teams (CAT), Harm Reduction Agencies, local governments or directly with Interior Health at harmreduction.coordinator@interiorhealth.ca,” the release stated.

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