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No needle clampdown

Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien has been convinced that a one-for-one needle exchange won’t solve residents’ concerns about stray syringes and would lead to higher HIV transmission rates.

Like many cities, Ottawa hands out clean needles to drug users to dampen the spread of HIV and hepatitis C. Dr Isra Levy, who replaced David Salisbury as the city’s top doctor in May, has recommended other changes aimed at satisfying citizen complaints.

They include longer more staff and longer hours for needle clean-up and a telephone line for residents to notify the city of syringes found in public spaces.

At a Jun 12 press conference, the mayor told reporters that he’s been “persuaded” that a one-for-one needle exchange won’t result in clean streets.