While much work is being done around downtown Victoria to clean up and dispose of discarded hypodermic needles, more can always be done to step up vigilance in the name of public safety. Black Press file photo

EDITORIAL: Extra vigilance in downtown Victoria drug area can’t hurt

Needle prick incidents may be a byproduct of permissive action aimed at saving lives

Anyone who spends a significant amount of time in downtown Victoria is at least somewhat aware of the potential for spent hypodermic needles to be discovered.

That said, finding one in a public or private area is always grim reminder of the reality that people in our midst struggle daily with addiction. And despite the efforts of local groups, those that work with the city’s drug-addicted population, to clean up after the relatively small number of addicts who can’t or won’t dispose of needles safely, there are innocent, unsuspecting people getting pricked.

Fears over the potential to be pricked by a needle used by someone who may also have a blood-borne disease are enough to heighten awareness for many people coming downtown. But the public shouldn’t have to be hypervigilant to avoid such a scenario.

While the leaving of needles at discrete sites well-known to the cleanup crews is more common – the circumstances around the first two needle pricks reported last week remain foggy – two needles found points-up in planters outside a Johnson Street salon seems a clear indication of someone messing with civilized society, not simply discarding of their rig in an unsafe manner.

Clearly, Island Health and other downtown service providers such as Victoria Cool Aid Society, Our Place and SOLID (Society of Living Intravenous Drug Users) are committed to keeping the public safe in an area where people in the height of addiction are more prone to actively use. Saying that, sometimes there needs to be a wakeup call to remind those supporting the end users that more vigilant cleanups are needed.

As a progressive and compassionate society determined to reduce opioid deaths, we allow injection drug use – sometimes supervised, sometimes not – to freely happen in this area. But public health and safety, for those outside the realm of the drug addicted community and those within it, is too important to take for granted, even when much good work is being done to maintain it.

Just Posted

Homeless campers of Namegans Nation head to Oak Bay

Roughly 30 members of roving tent city settle at Cattle Point in Uplands Wednesday

Legalization at the legislature: Victoria celebrates with free cannabis

Longtime cannabis activist Dana Larsen hands out free joints, seeds, plants

B.C. moves ahead with speculation tax despite mayors calling for changes

Oak Bay mayor says he was hoping for a different outcome

UPDATE: Pat Bay Highway traffic moving again after motorcyclist rear-ended

Three vehicle collision stalled traffic in southbound lane Wednesday shortly before 4 p.m.

MP calls federal government’s cannabis pardon ‘half-baked’

Murray Rankin introduced bill to expunge criminal possession records for free

Watch: Saanich responds to mock emergency for ammonia Leak

Hazmat suits, emergency centre respond to mock ammonia leak

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

VIDEO: Courtenay marks legalization by passing out free joints

Leaf Compassion celebrates new marijuana law in Courtenay

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Jusu adds hemp extract to the menu in Greater Victoria

Food and beverage product to be enhanced with hemp extract

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Most Read