Letter: 'Backward thinking' on needle exchange in Port Coquitlam

The Editor,

Re. "Discarded needles upset Port Coquitlam council" (tricitynews.com Oct. 18) and "It’s not hot air to advocate for safety around needles" (editorial, Opinion, The Tri-City News, Oct. 24).

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To Mayor Brad West and Coun. Glenn Pollock: 

I read The Tri-City News article referenced above and I am surprised that you think by reducing needle exchange, the number of used needles found in parks would diminish. That seems backward thinking.

We cannot deal with addiction disease by removing needles. We know from past experience with HIV and hepatitis C that sharing needles is not a solution to anything.

Individuals who suffer from this disease are family members in our city who need help, not shame and isolation. As a taxpayer, it would be ideal for the city to collaborate with Fraser Health to provide health services with access to an overdose prevention site so that people may consume their drugs safely; decreasing consumption in public places.

Also, Mayor West, Victoria did not just randomly decide this is an appropriate way to reduce health issues. It has been in consultation with many experts in the field of mental health and addiction for at least the last 10 years. There is no other health issue that would be discussed at a municipal level and I am ashamed that Port Coquitlam council would blatantly choose to stigmatize those individuals and disregard Fraser Health’s attempt to handle this health issue.

Lynn MacKenzie, Port Coquitlam

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