ABBOTSFORD (NEWS1130) – The Mayor of Abbotsford feels it’s time to take a cue from Vancouver and get a needle exchange program in the city.  The idea of a site was nixed in 2005, and remains a constant controversy, but the mayor is hoping they will revisit the idea of opening a site.

Mayor Bruce Banman thinks if cases of HIV or Hepatitis C can be prevented, a program like this would pay for itself.

“In addition to which, it allows these contaminated needles to come back to a source to be exchanged, so they’re not going to be left out in parks, for people to step on or possibly get infected with.”

Abbotsford has the third highest hepatitis C rate in the province. Banman claims harm reduction strategies like this are linked to strong health and economic benefits, but arguments have been made that such programs condone drug use.

“If we can avoid one case of AIDS, or a couple of cases of hepatitis C, that would probably pay for the entire program”

The issue was brought to the city by the Positive Living Society of BC, and Banman says the debate will reopen in early spring.