I know there's a needle pickup service & I'd heard to call 311 to sort it out. I googled it when I got home & found surprisingly little information online. After several minutes of scanning menus & several search attempts on the City of Vancouver website, I called 311 & was given another number to call. Seems like it should be easier to find this information, so I decided to get the word out by blogging.
I love my neighbourhood & wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the city. But it is a bit depressing that part of living here is finding used syringes on the street. Part of raising street-smart kids here is teaching them not to touch discarded needles. It's not something I see a lot--two in the past year, but before that I only saw one other at least five years before.
I think if we keep pushing for more harm reduction programs like supportive housing, needle exchanges & safe injection sites like Insite, this problem will get better. In the meantime, here's what to do when you find a discarded syringe.
- Don't touch it or pick it up
- Call the Needle Pickup Hotline: 604.657.6561
- Describe exactly where the needle is located so it can be found easily
- If you prefer to email, the Needle Pick-up Email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Community Pick-up Van will be there to recover and dispose of it safely. The hotline offers rapid needle recovery service 7 days a week, 20 hours a day, between 7am & 3am. This service also provides needle disposal to SROs & non-profit organizations running housing with their own internal needle exchanges.
I've put this number into my cel phone so I can call right away next time. Here's hoping you won't find a discarded syringe in your travels, but if you do, now you know who to call.
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