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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

KAMLOOPS to receive grant from the Mental Health and Addictions Ministry for what Mayor Ken Christian says will be an initiative to ‘focus on sharps management’

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian
This morning the Ministry for Mental Health and Addictions Ministry, announced a number of BC communities would be receiving a share of nearly a million dollars ($900,000) in grants for local community wellness, safety and harm-reduction projects.

The announcement stated there were a total of twenty-four municipalities, along with community partners, who would be receiving up to $50,000 in funding for ... initiatives that build on community wellness, safety and harm-reduction efforts related to the overdose crisis and saving lives.

Projects being funded include:

  • a business engagement and ambassador project in Abbotsford;
  • a needle recovery program in Vancouver;
  • youth harm reduction and wellness efforts in Port Alberni;
  • a drop-in harm reduction and meal program in Houston ... and ...
  • an employment program in Penticton and Kelowna.

Additional projects aim to reduce stigma, while engaging and empowering people with lived and living experience of substance use.

In my own community of Kamloops, I was informed by Mayor Ken Christian that the local initiative would be receiving a grant of $44,000 dollars, and that it would be focusing on sharps management.

We intend to (have) contact with lived experience folks, to coordinate safe sharps collection and disposal”.

Mayor Christian went on to say, “This will significantly reduce the risk of inadvertent needle stick injury in our community”. 

Kamloops residents Dennis Giesbrecht and Caroline King made news a couple of years back, during what appeared to be an epidemic of discarded needles (sharps) left in areas of the city where residents were likely to come into contact with them.

At the time they spearheaded a very successful needle buy-back campaign which saw several thousand sharps collected, many of them by the street addicts themselves.
Giesbrecht showing just a
small sample of discarded
needles collected

On hearing news of the grant being allocated to Kamloops, Giesbrecht stated, “Kamloops, as you have already noted, had a group doing needle collection for free. We just needed a location from the city so that we could continue.  Unfortunately, the City of Kamloops resisted that at every turn”.

Don’t get me wrong”, Giesbrecht continued, “I’m glad to see this initiative will be getting underway, however it is regrettable that funding such as was announced this morning -- even just a small portion of it – wasn’t available two years ago to allow us to continue the grassroots program we already had in place.”

The one-time grants are supported by the Community Crisis Innovation Fund through the Ministry of Health and will be administered by the Community Action Initiative.


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