December 4, 2009
For immediate release
Provincial Needle Exchange Program Confirms New Charlottetown Location for 2010
“The Department of Health took over the program April 1 of this year as a part of a broader provincial harm reduction program strategy,” said Minister Currie. “Since then, we have had a suitable location in Summerside at the Harbourside Family Health Centre. The Charlottetown program has been offered out of a temporary location since April, and a new downtown location has now been secured to provide easier access to the program.”
The Needle Exchange Program in Charlottetown will be relocated to a newly renovated space on the main level of the Professional Boardwalk Centre (220 Water Street) adjacent to the pharmacy. It is anticipated that the program will begin offering services to clients in its new location in early January 2010.
The province’s plan for Harm Reduction services includes the establishment of the Needle Exchange Program, which aims to prevent the transmission of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
Most cases of Hepatitis C diagnosed in PEI are related to intravenous drug use and sharing of injection needles and equipment. The most effective approach to controlling the spread of Hepatitis C and other bloodborne diseases is a combination of strategies using education, provision of clean supplies to users and ensuring that health services and advice are available.
“The number of Islanders utilizing the program’s services in Charlottetown and Summerside continues to increase,” said PEI’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison. “For the month of September alone, over 1,900 clean needles were distributed. This speaks to both the need for the program and positive response from clients.”
In addition to providing clean supplies, the provincial Needle Exchange Program offers other services such as counseling, health teaching, sexual health advice, wound care and referral to a variety of services.
The Department of Health will continue to develop harm reduction programs for intravenous drug users in early 2010 by expanding the program province-wide, establishing sites in West Prince and in Kings County.