The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) has released an Evaluation Summary Report following the Information Session held in November regarding the Harm Reduction Program.
The goal of the information session was to educate the public about NWHU’s Needle Exchange Program in response to increased public interest in the program and concern about discarded needles in the community.
All attendees of the event were asked to provide an email address during the event sign-in so NWHU could send them an evaluation form. After the information session,
attendees who provided their email information were sent a short evaluation survey to complete.
Gillian Lunny is the Manager of Sexual Health and Harm Reduction she spoke about what her biggest take away was from the session and the survey.
"My biggest take away from the session was the interest, from the people who attended the session, in helping," she said.
In the report, the NWHU identified the beginning of a community task force, to help address the issue. Specifically they will be developing a community needle advisory committee comprised of downtown business owners, community partners, and interested community members to help address and inform issues regarding improperly discarded needles in Kenora.
Lunny said it's still in the beginning stages.
"We're looking at holding a meeting in the next couple of weeks, depending on people's availability. I'm just now polling the province, so other managers who manage needle exchange programs like myself, to see who else has similar groups and what kind of work they do," she said.
She added that what the group's role will be is still unclear as it will be up to the members to decide.
"Looking across the province, there are similar groups that may respond to needle calls, some of them just try to help increase community awareness about the program and the importance of it. Or it could be the group is just there to give feedback into our program," she said.
Those looking for more information on the group are welcome to contact the NWHU.