- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

When an Owen Sound woman stopped her car in a quiet cul de sac to feed her baby and let her son and dogs have a run, she was shocked to see a bag of used syringes on the ground. She and her husband bundled everyone back in the car and did what they thought best – they headed for the police station.
In an interview with the Owen Sound Hub, the woman said,  "I walked in and told the officer I had found a bag of needles... he said "unfortunately we can't deal with that, do you know someone with a sharps container who could get it cleaned up?" I told him no, and was furious at this point and said thanks anyways and walked out."
Matthew McCoy of Addicts Attic Outreach saw the woman's frustrated post on social media and went and retrieved sharpsdisposednearly two dozen of the used needles, putting them in a sharps container he carries in his car and taking them to Public Health for disposal.
According to McCoy there was visible blood in the syringes which were in a number of paper bags and a plastic bag, possibly tossed out of a car window in the secluded area.
"It was clearly a user carelessly disposing of accumulated needles," said McCoy, who is using his personal experiences as a former addict to bring information, counselling and safety concerns such as this to the community through public meetings, radio and Facebook.
Inspector Jeff Fluney of the Owen Sound Police Services said in an interview that while municipal Works departments are responsible for the public spaces in their area, the police will remove hazards to public health and safety when such things are brought to their attention. He reiterated several times that the police cannot be combing the city looking for these hazards, and that the City should be notified when a public park or property is involved.
Fluney could not speak to the woman's report of her experience in the Owen Sound Police station.
The needles were found on Youngs Drive by the memorial forest road. Unknown to the woman who found them, this is in Georgian Bluffs, in OPP jurisdiction.
McCoy says he would prefer to spend his time on drug prevention activities and helping addicts and their families, but he will continue to pick up used sharps if people feel there is a danger. "Even more now, given the deadly potential of fentanyl," he said, "This potentially affects all of us."
Addicts Attic can be reached online or at their emergency number, 519-492-0986.

Previous OwenSoundHub stories -  on sharps disposal - Oct 2017 and Jan 2018

A junkie speaks out


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