Needles in the Community – Preliminary Resource Guide
- 1. Vancouver based sharps pick-ups and support
If you find needles and or other drug related paraphernalia that you wish to be picked up, call:
311 seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
604-657-6561 seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.
They are usually available to come to do a pick-up within about an hour.
If in Stanley Park or other wilderness area and are unable to positively identify a location, they will meet you somewhere convenient so that you can take them there.
If entering an area where you are concerned for your childrens’ safety, check covered areas, especially during rainy weather, and around benches.
The pick-up program is run by the Portland Hotel Society under contract by Vancouver Coast Health. There is currently no webpage. They picked up 170,000 needles last month alone.
They are willing to train in sharps pick-up or can be called for them to pick up sharps. They will also do a sweep of an area in Vancouver before a forest nursery or other wilderness outing.
- 2. What to do if injured by a needle stick
When an unvaccinated child comes in contact with and is injured by a needle stick, there are several key considerations.
First, the parent or adult caregiver should immediately wash the hand with warm water and soap.
Second, the parent or adult caregiver should decide whether to take the child to the emergency room.
The admitting doctors at the emergency room will check the children and evaluate their immediate wellbeing. They may also advise the following:
a) Baseline blood work immediately and at 6 months and 1 year to test for any pathogens (Hepatitis, HIV, etc.)
b) Tetanus shot immediately and at 1 month (again, parents may decide against this depending on the condition of the needle and the site where it was found)
c) Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (HBIG) within 24 hours*
d) Hepatitis B vaccine at 0, 1 and 6 months
* This is a time sensitive treatment. The efficacy of this treatment diminishes after 24 hours.
Many of the tests, shots and decisions are time sensitive. And these decision are very personal.
Hepatitis B seems to have the greatest likelihood of survival and transmission. The HBIG shot is a blood based treatment and as such carries different risks than vaccines. Unlike a vaccine, it contains antigens (rather than antibodies) and does not contain any of the carrier ingredients associated with vaccines. It is carried in sterilized blood and a food grade preservative and is often given in doses based on the patient’s body weight.
More information about diseases present in needle at:
- 3. Support, education, and counselling
a) Vancouver Forest nursery held short “sharps” demos in city playgrounds in Oct 2012 and is investigating ways to teach other parents to teach safety and awareness around this issu in their own neighbourhood parks.
b) Private counsellor – Brian Williams is a private counsellor. He is familiar with the risks and challenges involved in a city where many folks need support for housing
c) Askable Adult workshop by donation to the Forest Nursery Group offered by FN member Jessy Wollen. In this 2.5 hour course parents receive with some empowerment tools to keep your children safe from sexual abuse and external risks such as needles and condoms.
At Trout Lake on Nov 18, 2012
d) Vancouver Coastal Health Crisis counselling for children 5 and under
The Alan Cashmore Centre. They will give you info and/or referrals but will not actually treat.
October 29, 2012
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