Needle Drop Site Aimed At Downtown Drug Users

A bright yellow box on Pellisier Street between Elliott and Wyandotte is the latest weapon in the opioid crisis.

Placed in front of the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre location, it's to collect used needles and syringes.

Centre Executive Director Patrick Brown says that area is commonly frequented by drug users and needles and syringes are found regularly in alleys and on the street.

The area has seen a high rate of 3-1-1 calls for needles and syringes in public places, says Brown.

"The unit will provide a safe method of disposing these items protecting our vulnerable patients against the harmful effects of reusing syringes and needles and protecting the community and residents in this area"

The drop box was installed September 6th, and was checked a week later. "Estimated there are over 500 needles and syringes in the unit at this point in time," says Brown. "If I extrapolate those numbers out over the course of the year we're talking about taking 26,000 needles and syringes off the street"

Brown says statistics from the health unit show the impact of needle drug use locally.

"From Jan 1 to July 31, there have been a total of 132 reported cases of Hep C and HIV, this compares to a 5 average for the same time period of 93 cases"

Brown says they're allocated $20,000 of their annual budget to harm reduction items like needles and syringes.

Brown is hopeful this will be the first of several such needle drop sites.

The need for the drop box was clear when a neighborhood resident showed an alley across Pellisier St. where drug users had left needles and syringes lying on the ground.