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Bear Clan Patrol picks up more than 30K needles in first 8 months of 2018
The Bear Clan Patrol is sounding an alarm after seeing a drastic increase in the amount of needles volunteers are finding during patrols.
“Last year we picked up 4,000 needles, and I really didn’t believe we would be able to meet that target again, and sadly we are,” said James Favel, executive director of the Bear Clan Patrol.
Favel said this year the group has already collected 30,000 discarded needles, and there are still more than three months left in the year.
Volunteers put the dirty syringes into medical boxes, which are then loaded into a larger box which Favel said holds around 7,500 needles once full.
“This will be the fourth box we’ve turned in.”
Favel points to methamphetamine and opioids as the main reasons they’re seeing such an increase.
“The uptake of methamphetamine in this community is surpassing every other substance out there, even alcohol,” said Favel.
He said the Bear Clan Patrol has been able to keep up with the increase, but they’re not reaching the same distances they did before the meth crisis hit Winnipeg.
“We’re spending so much time taking needles off the streets.”
Favel was poked by a needle last December, and cautions others who may be picking them up.
He wants to see the programs which are handing out needles to people to also give them containers to safely dispose of the sharp objects.
Favel said there needs to be more resources allocated for those living with addictions for both their physical and mental health.
-With files from CTV’s Maralee Caruso