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

Cost of keeping program is minimal compared to costs involved in treating those who accidentally prick themselves with discarded needles.

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

The Editor,

Surrey’s “Rig Dig” program is in jeopardy. The Rig Dig program allows for the collection of used needles in the area surrounding city hall and the “Strip.”

As the Now recently reported, in 2015, this program (including others run by Lookout Emergency Aid Society such as the Positive Point Needle Exchange and mobile outreach) contributed to the collection of 600,000 discarded used needles. Many of these needles still had blood in them.

The Rig Dig program is run by the Lookout Emergency Aid Society whose provincial gaming grant is not being renewed. Unfortunately, this means that their peer-lead needle recovery program is in crisis.

The area patrolled by Rig Dig includes the Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre and the neighbouring skate park, which is regularly used by teens. Across the street is a park with playground equipment frequented by children.

SEE ALSO: Loss of funding has Surrey’s ‘Rig Dig’ needle cleanup program in crisis

From where I sit, 600,000 discarded needles combined with children and teens playing is an accident waiting to happen. I foresee some major health issues for youth unfortunate enough to encounter these uncapped, dirty needles.

Surely, there must be some way to keep this essential service going. The cost of keeping this program is minimal compared to the costs involved in treating those who accidentally prick themselves with one of these discarded needles.

We must find a way or the area around city hall will soon be awash in 600,000 discarded needles.

Philippa Powers, Surrey

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