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South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre Launches Needle Exchange Program to Encourage Safer Drug Use

April 21, 2021

Wasaga Beach, Ontario – April 21, 2021 – The South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre (SGBCHC) in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is launching a Needle Exchange program – an initiative aimed at reducing the risk of spreading bloodborne disease by offering clean needles to injection drug users. The goal of the needle exchange program is to encourage people to dispose of used needles in a safe and legal way and to help:

  • Reduce the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C, and other diseases
  • Reduce the number of discarded needles in public and the incidence of needle-stick injuries
  • Provide education and support to those who want it

Needle exchange services are proven to reduce the spread of infection without increasing intravenous drug use. The Needle Exchange program is part of the SGBCHC’s harm reduction programming, and offers the following services at no cost:

  • Injection kits including, new needles, spoons (cookers), alcohol swabs, sterile water, tourniquets, and when requested vitamin C
  • Safe smoking kits including, glass stems or bowl pipes, screens, and mouth pieces
  • Sharps containers for the safe disposal of used needles, stems, pipes and other substance use equipment
  • Information about safer substance use and community resources
  • Addiction support through RVH’s Rapid Access Addiction Medical (RAAM) clinic, located at the SGBCHC

“Research shows that harm reduction programs do not increase drug use and in fact, increase the likelihood of someone getting help and entering a treatment program,” said Heather Klein Gebbinck, Executive Director, SGBCHC. “The Needle Exchange program is a crucial part of our harm reduction strategy by helping to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases, improve health outcomes and increase safety for our community at large.”

The Needle Exchange program is open to everyone and is available during SGBCHC operating hours. All exchange supplies are provided at no cost. Anonymity is encouraged and personal identification will not be requested, however, a nurse will be available onsite, if needed.

For more information about the Needle Exchange program, please visit www.southgeorgianbaychc.ca/services/needle-exchange-program/ or call the SGBCHC at 705-422-1888. For information about the RAAM clinic, visit https://www.southgeorgianbaychc.ca/services/rapid-access-addiction-medical-raam-clinic.

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About the South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre

The South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre is a non-profit, community-governed, charitable organization that focuses on the health and wellbeing of individuals in the community. They provide everyone in the community with access to health care services, free community programs and community development. The SGBCHC is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, through the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network. For more information please visit www.southgeorgianbaychc.ca.

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