WATCH: A Victoria man found several needles with liquid inside in a Saanich park Monday but Saanich Police and a medical clinic refused to take them. April Lawrence reports.
Don and Deedee Patenaude were hiking up a grassy hill known as Blanshard Park to check out the view Monday morning when they stumbled upon four syringes that had a clear liquid inside.
“It could be fentanyl, it could be heroin, it could be speed it could be anything,” said Don.
They scooped the needles up with a pop bottle and took them to the Saanich Police Department but were turned away.
“The police told me they don’t take stuff like that, I thought that would be the safest place to take them,” Patenaude said.
Instead, he was told to take the needles to a nearby walk-in clinic where again they were told to leave.
“I’m left with a pocketful of potentially illegal drugs and if the wrong person finds it on me I could have trouble,” he said.
As the Patenaude’s went back to look over the hill once more they made even more alarming discoveries — a pile of uncapped needles in one location and another loaded needle not far away.
Saanich Police admit they’re not equipped to take in any needles from the public, loaded or not, but they say now that this issue has come to light they’re going to look at putting sharps containers in their public washrooms.
Island Health has a map showing the location of sharps disposal boxes in the region, the closest, in this case, is about a kilometre away. Public health units will also take them as will harm reduction sites and some outreach groups, like Solid, will actually come and pick them up.
And Solid Outreach is who eventually came to help the Patenaude’s. Manager Brent Donovan says will put the syringes in a container where they will be sent off and incinerated.
“That’s a loaded gun right, one prick of that, you could be gone for life you don’t know, so be very careful of any needles out there, don’t touch them, if you can help it, don’t touch them, call us, we’ll take care of it,” Donovan said.
Donovan says his group of volunteers will now mark Blanshard Park as a hot spot and will do a needle sweep daily for the next few weeks.
The Ministry of Transportation, which owns the land, will also send in a contractor to clean it up.
For syringe drop off locations on Vancouver Island click here.