A discarded syringe found in Rutledge park in January. More safe disposal options are needed for discarded syringes, says SOLID operations coordinator Fred Cameron, after another needle was found, this time after poking a 15-year-old Sooke boy. (Black Press Media file photo)

A discarded syringe found in Rutledge park in January. More safe disposal options are needed for discarded syringes, says SOLID operations coordinator Fred Cameron, after another needle was found, this time after poking a 15-year-old Sooke boy. (Black Press Media file photo)

Sooke mother calls for action after 15-year-old poked by discarded syringe in Saanich park

Discarded needle poke in Saanich park points to need for safe disposal options: SOLID

Discarded syringes found in Saanich parks are causing concern for some Greater Victoria residents.

Sooke mother Jayna Forgie said her 15-year-old son was pricked by a needle in Rutledge park on Monday. The teen took the syringe to nearby Mayfair Shopping Centre before heading to a doctor’s clinic and eventually, the Royal Jubilee Hospital for testing.

The odds of him contracting a disease or virus from the needle are low, health professionals told the family, but Forgie still posted on Facebook to warn others.

“I was quite scared and nervous and angry. It wasn’t something that was intentionally propped up … it was just discarded carelessly. Either way, it’s really concerning.”

Forgie sent messages to the District of Saanich asking for action.

“We need more frequent and thorough sweeping of parks, especially because we have such a high amount of homeless and drug use in our city … if that can’t be addressed then I think the residual effects need to be addressed.”

READ ALSO: Police warn public after syringe found taped to Victoria bench

Society of Living Illicit Drug Users (SOLID) Outreach operations coordinator Fred Cameron said there is a lack of proper disposal sites in the region.

SOLID, which offers support, education and advocacy for people who use drugs within the City of Victoria, also offers a discarded syringe and supply pickup service. Saanich isn’t typically within the organization’s purview, but Cameron said it’s having to expand outreach, even as resources are stretched by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was much easier when everything was on Pandora, we had a few sites around town but the population was concentrated,” he said. “There’s a few places downtown where they have metal stands with enclosed sharps containers but there are not enough of them.”

Cameron challenged the popular narrative that syringes are used only by people with drug addictions.

“The amount of media focus there is on drug use, that’s what people are picturing when they see [needles],” he said, noting diabetes and many other conditions can require the use of syringes.

“We’re not even really giving them the opportunity to cooperate if we don’t have proper disposal around town.”

Saanich resident Christine Knox found two discarded syringes on her property in the Gorge-Tillicum area. She said her home is on a route frequented by pedestrians and – prior to the pandemic – children walking to school.

“Lots of kids are going through there every day,” she said. “Also my mom is visually impaired, if she was doing any work around our property she wouldn’t have been able to see them. So it’s a huge concern for us.”

Coun. Colin Plant said Saanich dispatched a crew to Rutledge park on Tuesday to sweep through it for any other discarded needles.

“There certainly is a heightened level of concern around this. We hope people behave appropriately and not put fellow neighbours, friends, citizens at risk,” he said.

In contrast, the Capital Regional District – of which Plant is board chair – has not had any reports of syringes found in its parks.

Anyone who finds a needle within Victoria can call SOLID at 250-298-9497. Callers are asked to supply their name, contact number, a date and the exact location of the discarded supplies.

Those outside Victoria can call or drop off discarded syringes at the SOLID office at 1056 North Park St. Guidelines for safe pickup can be found on the SOLID website.

Saanich will also pick discarded needles within the municipality. Residents can call the district at 250-475-5522.

READ ALSO: Man pricked by uncapped needle in Beacon Hill Park: VicPD


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Capital Regional DistrictFamily activitiesparks

Just Posted

Saanich Fire Department is responding to a structure fire in the 3300-block of Quadra Street on May 18. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Smoking pot on stove ignites Saanich fire call on Quadra Street

Traffic impacted in northbound lanes of 3300-block shortly after 11 a.m.

The entrance to one of the tiny homes in Victoria’s Tiny Home Village. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)
Victoria Tiny Home Village resident evicted for lighting small fire

No damage or injuries, but zero-tolerance rule stands

Local cyclist Max McCulloch catches air off a jump in the newly redesigned Organ Donor trail at Mount Work mountain biking park. The Capital Regional District approved its regional parks mountain biking guidelines and a list of short-term actions at the CRD board’s May 12 meeting. (Black Press Media File Photo)
CRD approves mountain biking guidelines that drove spoke between advocates, environmentalists

Guidelines aim to find new biking opportunites in region, while protecting park ecology

Howard English Hatchery volunteer Joscilyn Jupp poured one of many buckets of salmon fry into Douglas Creek on May 11, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
35,000 salmon fry released in Saanich park during closed event

Chum from Goldstream Hatchery trucked in to restore Douglas Creek salmon spawning

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A game camera near the Klahoose reservation on Cortes Island caught this glimpse of a truck leaving the woodlot at around 2:30 on Sunday morning. Photo supplied by Klahoose First Nation
Indigenous cutblock vandalised on Cortes Island, anti-logging element suspected

Ribbons pulled down, gravel poured into gas tank at Klahoose First Nation site

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

Those who disobey could be subject to a $230 fine

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

The Nanaimo Timbermen and Victoria Shamrocks compete in Western Lacrosse Association action in Nanaimo during the 2019 season. (News Bulletin file photo)
WLA cancels another senior A lacrosse season due to COVID-19

Western Lacrosse Association, Major Series Lacrosse announce cancellation of Mann Cup

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Most Read