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

Real estate money laundering ‘deeply troubling’

Attorney General will investigate

Victoria Harbour most polluted on B.C. coast: study

City’s industrial past and more recently, pharmaceuticals, create high levels of pollutants

Watch for high winds today and tomorrow

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria. According to Environment… Continue reading

Beauty Day at Our Place a chance to rise above daily struggles

Annual pampering event draws women of all ages and circumstances

Victoria dog attacked by otters off Dallas Road

Off-leash dogs and wildlife can make for a poor mix, veterinary staffer says

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

Snow expected to subside Sunday morning

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for east Vancouver Island between Duncan and Nanaimo

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks came out hot, beat Bruins 6-1

Loui Eriksson scores twice, catapulting Vancouver to a lopsided victory over Boston

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Seven-day visit includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Military seeks DNA experts to help ID missing war dead

Federal program recovers, identifies and arranges burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

Most Read