The City of Kamloops is considering expanding its sharps recovery and peer support program.
The program originally launched in 2020 as a pilot harm reduction initiative, which Ty Helgason, the city’s social and community development supervisor, says has been a multi-faceted job.
“One element is actually employing people who use or have had experience of using drugs, to recover sharps through our peer program,” he explained. “Then we also track sharps collected in the community, so sharps collected from trash cans and peer teams, so we have a collection of sharps trash cans across the community.”
Helgason said expanding the program this year will increase the number of people in the community who will benefit from the program. Part of this includes increasing the number of sharps bins in Kamloops.
“The sharps bins we are expanding from just having city facilities and properties to partnering with community members who think they have a suitable space for a sharps bin and who see sharp objects around,” he added.
Helgason told NL News the city is looking to gather information about any interest businesses might have in wanting a sharps bin on their property. An online form is available to interested companies.
“Filling out this form does not guarantee that a sharps bin will be installed, but we are just trying to generate interest to see which areas of the city would like to see more sharps bins,” Helgason added.
Helgason says the peer program has also expanded since 2020, when he only saw Ask Wellness clients collect sharps and salaries. It now also includes clients from Mustard Seed and the Canadian Mental Health Association.