In the early 1990s, Paul Burton walked into the downtown offices of the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador, looking to borrow $3 to buy clean needles at the Woolworth's pharmacy so he could inject illegal drugs.
After debating the ethics of it, the committee gave the St. John's man the money. A couple of days later, he paid it back, and had a conversation with the staff about the need for a needle exchange in St. John's.
It was the start of the committee's Safe Works Access Program (SWAP) which provides people using injection drugs with clean needles and other paraphernalia, with the goal of preventing the spread of AIDS, hepatitis C and other blood-borne viruses.
In 2003, SWAP provided 180 free needles to injection drug users. Last year, they gave out 175,253.
"It's gone a long ways, man. It's saved a lot of people from heartache and misery," Burton said.
The Telegram website offers only a sample of the stories our reporters, editors and photographers work hard to get to the public every day.
The Weekend Telegram print edition, on the other hand, contains much, much more, from news to opinion.
Inside Saturday’s print edition:
•Hundreds of property owners in Eastern Newfoundland are not paying their garbage collection fees, so Eastern Waste Management is taking them to court.
The regional waste authority currently has about 260 cases before Small Claims Court.
Those accounts owe a total of $160,000.
•Leo Crockwell is getting his fifth lawyer since the start of his legal proceedings.
Lawyer Lori Marshall had previously represented the 57-year-old Bay Bulls man. Crockwell was convicted earlier this summer of four charges stemming from an eight-day standoff that happened almost two years ago.
But Marshall was recently appointed a provincial court judge. When that happened she had to remove herself from various ongoing cases.
• The George River Caribou herd is continuing to decline.
According to census done in July, the herd — which once numbered 800,000 animals — has plummeted to about 27,600.
Now, the Department of Environment and Conservation is warning that those numbers could get even worse.
• Former residents of the forcibly relocated Inuit community of Nutak went home on Wednesday.
The Nunatsiavut Government arranged for the return, inviting all former residents to join in recognizing the loss of the community and to view the unveiling of a new monument to mark its relocation.
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