Surrey needle pickup program temporarily revived

Lookout Foundation has granted $10,000 out of an emergency fund to temporarily restore the program until March 2017

Surrey's Rig Dig program is run by the Lookout Emergency Aid Society.

SURREY — After having to end its needle pickup program after a loss in funding, Lookout Emergency Aid Society has temporarily revived the program.

The peer-led Rig Dig program, which began in 2006, came to a halt on Sept. 9 came after the society was unsuccessful in its bid for $44,000 in gaming grant funding this year.

But it has been announced that Lookout Foundation has granted $10,000 out of an emergency fund to restore the program this week, enough to keep it running until the end of March 17, according to a release.

See also: LETTER: We must find way to keep Surrey’s Rig Dig needle program alive

Concern over children being pricked after Surrey needle collection program ends

“The Lookout Foundation does not normally fund ongoing operational expenses,” said its board president, Chuck Puchmayr. “However we’ve identified Rig Dig as an essential service in Surrey north. The emergency fund supports continuing the service while we attempt to secure ongoing funding.”

From April 1 to Aug. 31 last year the program reports collecting 21,099 used needles – a 200 per cent increase from the year before.

The society says it takes about $50,000 to run the program annually.

See also: Surrey businesses offer up fresh solutions to needle nightmare

Lookout Society executive director Shayne Williams said the program receives positive feedback from the community, but also from “former and active drug users who use their expertise to identify problematic areas to target for safe disposal and cleanup in Surrey.”

This news comes six days after Fraser Health announced it has chosen RainCity Housing and Support Society, which runs shelters in Maple Ridge and Coquitlam, to develop and execute a new regional harm reduction strategy, including a needle recovery program.

It’s not yet known what Surrey’s piece of the pie will be.

Fraser Health says the strategy will be implemented in communities with the greatest need and will include peer-based education to reduce the number of discarded needles and safe-using practices, referrals and information about healthcare and addiction, as well as a needle recovery program.

The society will also be distributing harm reduction supplies to drug users.

Fraser Health says the plan’s “peer-informed approach” will connect people who use drugs with people in recovery.

The health authority says “one of the tenets of harm reduction is to engage individuals in safer drug using practices that reduce infectious diseases such as HIV and Hep C” and “a peer-informed approach is considered an effective way to establish a connection with people who may not otherwise seek support for their addiction.”

Meanwhile, Fraser Health is still considering a safe consumption site for Surrey, said medical health officer Dr. Ingrid Tyler, but noted that work is being done outside of this strategy.

Fraser Health chief medical officer Dr. Victoria Lee said the new strategy aims to “build on our multi-pronged overdose strategy which aims to reduce the number of overdoses in our region.”

B.C.’s drug overdose death toll had climbed to 488 in the first eight months of this year – a 62 per cent jump for the same period of 2015.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

 

Just Posted

Surrey’s Flamingo ‘closing forever’ following final concert in February

Whalley venue reopened under new management in January 2018

Surrey needs 350 more cops, activist tells council

‘Right now we are 350 police behind what our population requires,’ politicians are told

Surrey reviewing clothing bin safety in wake of deaths

School district confirms all donation bins were removed from its properties, citing safety concerns

Chamber looks to Cloverdale, Clayton for award nominations

The Clovies, Cloverdale’s annual business awards, return April 25

Delta bans clothing donation bins citing safety concerns

Owners have until Jan. 29 to remove the bins, after which the city will charge them for the removal

Giant rotating ice disk forms in Maine river

Ice disk that is roughly 100 yards wide has formed in the Presumpscot River

SUV wedged on top of car in B.C. mall parking lot has customers confused

The accident occurred Tuesday, no injuries were reported

Huawei founder thanks inmates, Canadian justice system for treating daughter well

Ren Zhengfei said he believes there will be a just conclusion to the case of his daughter, Meng Wanzhou

May government faces no-confidence vote after Brexit defeat

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would stay put in her leadership role

Man, two children sent to hospital after Vancouver carbon monoxide leak

Nine people were evacuated from the home in south Vancouver

5 to start your day

Gabriel Klein fit to stand trial, Gillette ad stirs online uproar and more

Razor burn: Gillette ad stirs online uproar

A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash

B.C. teacher reprimanded after telling kids about deaths, Pickton murders

Tracy Joseph Fairley resigned from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows district April 23, 2018

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability with external committee

Long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale

Most Read