Homeless in Vancouver: Someone’s always fixin’ to thrill

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      One question I’ve never asked any of the handful of intravenous drug users I know is what they do with their dirty needles.

      I know they don’t leave them lying around like the one I saw last week at the corner of Spruce Street and West Broadway.

      Making the best of a bad situation?

      And chances are, the syringe pictured above wasn’t left there by someone who lives in the nearby condo.

      I only say that because it’s illegal to smoke cigarettes inside a Vancouver building but I’m unaware of a bylaw prohibiting Vancouverites from shooting up indoors. So condo owners who inject drugs (that would include insulin, right?) hardly need to go outside to do it and they will also have better places to discard their used needles than on top of B.C. Hydro utility boxes.

      This is the part of injection drug use that will always irk me—the leaving of syringes and sharps lying around in public places.

      It seems a shame that the final important step in fixing—safely disposing of the used syringe needle—has to wait until after the person is F’d up and their judgement is atad impaired.

      As for that syringe…I left it where it was. My gloves aren’t Kevlar, but I could still pick it up safely—then what?

      I wouldn’t dare put it in a garbage bin or dumpster where people will likely be going through the contents…in the dark.

      No. I judged that I had nowhere to put it that was less hazardous than where it was.

      So I have to give whomever a bit of credit. Under the circumstances I think they picked the smartest place to stupidly leave their used needle. 

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. 


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      Stanley Q Woodvine

      Jun 9, 2014 at 3:18pm

      I asked a heroin user I know about discarding his used syringes.

      He explained the syringe comes with a protective cap on the needle. When you are done injecting, jam the cap back on the business end of the syringe and snap the needle off, which, he assured me, stays in the cap.

      Then you can just throw it away normally, or at least he does.