The City of Windsor is placing sharps containers in targeted locations around the city to help reduce the number of improperly discarded needles.

“The opioid crisis is a national issue that municipalities are working to address on multiple fronts,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. “The installation of sharps disposal bins is a proven harm reduction effort that increases public safety, which is one step in the right direction.”

Dilkens said this action is being undertaken by the City to complement community efforts to address issues related to drug use and addictions and to support harm reduction, one of the four pillars identified in the Windsor Essex County Health Unit’s Opioid Strategy.

Data released Thursday by Public Health Ontario shows 16 people in Windsor-Essex have died from opioid-related causes. That compares to 36 deaths in all of 2017.

Over the past year, an advisory group including City staff, neighbourhood group leaders, the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (DWBIA), the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre, AIDS Committee of Windsor and others have been actively pursuing measures that address public safety.

A key action item for the group was the determination of the best locations for sharps disposal bins.

Taking 311 data into consideration, Councillor and Community Group requests and feedback, as well as site evaluations by Windsor Police Services, the safety of each potential location was evaluated through an objective matrix. 

After a thorough vetting process, the following locations were selected:

1.    Bruce Park

2.    Wigle Park

3.    Glengarry/Marentette Neighbourhood

4.    Senator Croll Park

5.    Downtown Transit Terminal

6.    Ford City Parkette

7.    Dufferin Place behind Fire Headquarters

The sharps containers are bright yellow, freestanding and clearly labelled as Needle Drop Boxes.

The city says they will be emptied regularly by trained professionals.

Dilkins said seven bins are being installed immediately, and three bins will be held over until spring.

Information on what to do if you see improperly disposed of needles can found on the Sharps Disposal page on the City’s website or by calling 311.