Kenora Daily Miner and News (04.16.12) - Thursday, April 19,
A Kenora detoxification center credits its needle-exchange
program (NEP) for reducing rates of hepatitis C infection and
helping reach the area's most vulnerable populations.
Kenora's NEP grew by 28 percent last year, handing out 69,340
needles. In Northwestern Ontario in 2011, the hepatitis C rate
was 31.2 cases per 100,000 compared to Ontario's 39.9 per
100,000. The region's HIV rate is regarded as "negligible," or
According to the Morning Star detoxification center's manager,
Patti-Dryden Holmstrom, "The needle exchange is an entry-level
service. People who might not access our service in any other
way are coming through our doors to use that service."
Gillian Lunny, another manager, added, "Our needle-exchange
programs are an open-door program for people who have very few
doors open to them."
Dryden-Holmstrom said her staff has seen a shift in the use of
opiate drugs, changing from the discontinued Oxycontin to
heroin, as well as hydromorphine. Morning Star staff members
see potential danger in this shift, as a user accustomed to
taking 80 mg of Oxycontin could overdose on the same amount of