For the second year in a row, West Nipissing’s Alliance Centre will be offering its sharps buyback program to the community.
The program provides a $5 gift card to local grocery stores in exchange for every 100 sharps returned for proper disposal.
The program runs throughout all of November and is in honour of National Addiction Awareness week.
Last year the Alliance Centre saw over 10,000 needles returned during the program’s run, which they touted as an overwhelming success.
With the pandemic this year, Leanne Estey, Youth Substance Abuse Counsellor at the Alliance Centre believes it will be another success.
“Between being locked down all summer, and some folks not feeling comfortable using the community sharps bin in town, it gives us reason to believe a substantial amount of sharps are waiting to be disposed of,” she said.
The program accepts sharps from anyone in the community regardless of what they’re used for whether it be intravenous drug use or diabetes.
The Centre usually sees anywhere around 1,000 to 1,200 needles returned in a normal month through their needle exchange program.
“Our main goal with the needle exchange program is always to build rapport. We want individuals to get familiar with our clinicians, and our programming. They’re not always ready for help right away but down the road, they may come to us and say they’re ready to get better. We’ve seen that happen, and it’s been successful in getting people into treatment.”
“It’s a public health initiative,” said Lynn Perreault, Program Manager at the Centre. “Our core belief here is that they’re a person first. No one wakes up and says “when I grow up I want to have a substance abuse issue”. We treat everyone equally, and we plant those seeds. Several have come back and utilized our formalized services. That’s why we do it. We want everyone as well as our community to be as safe as possible.”