A city committee has endorsed the installation of four new stationary needle collection bins along the Thames River.
A motion to add the needle bins passed at the Civic Work Committee Wednesday, as drug related needle use in London has skyrocketed over the past five years.
“In 2011, we collected 114,000 syringes, today it’s 507,000,” said Jan Richardson, manager of Homeless Prevention at the City of London.
“So, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in use. I think over time there has been more acceptance that we, like any municipality across the country, have a drug-using population.”
The bins, which come with a price tag of around $1,800 each, will allow drug users to safely dispose of their needles, instead of leaving them on the ground.
“There are a number of known hot spots along the river path there,” said Richardson
“We’ve already increased, as we do through the summer months, the outreach efforts to collect single drug-using equipment like a needle or a crack pipe.”
According to a staff report, used needles have been found in parks, on streets, and on private property. The needle bins and collection of drug using equipment is part of a strategy aimed at improving the health of individuals use drugs, and improving the safe disposal of needles and drug using equipment.
The City spends around $30,000 a year picking up and disposing of used syringes from the 17 existing needle collection bins across London.
The proposal for the four additional bins will now go to full council for a final vote.
Photo from MLHU.