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Photos: Portland Hotel Society's Mobile Needle Exchange

The main goal of the Portland Hotel Society's Mobile Needle Exchange is to provide harm reduction in the city of Vancouver. The Mobile Needle Exchange vehicle operates from 7am to 3am daily delivering items such as clean syringes, crack pipes and condoms. In addition, the team of 4 empty the city's needle boxes that are mounted in the alleys of the Downtown Eastside and from SROs that have a needle exchange program. The hotline also receives calls from individuals and businesses who find discarded needles, which are then picked up and disposed of safely. Mariner Janes has been working this job for nearly a year and feels he is doing a very important service. "We get a lot of thanks on the street and its a good feeling being part of the most direct form of harm reduction that I can think of." The program also aims to spread the sense of community, which is found in the Downtown Eastside, beyond its borders to people who are trying to leave the drug scene. Further more, the Mobile Needle Exchange provides recourses and connects people with drug rehabilitation and detox facilities.

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An intravenous drug user holds a box of syringes she received after approaching the Mobile Needle Exchange van in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, March 1, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

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Mariner Janes chats with a local resident while emptying city needle boxes in the alleys of the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, March 1, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

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Mariner Janes holds a used needle he collected in the Downtown Eastside after a person called the Mobile Needle Exchange hotline with a tip on its location in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, March 1, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

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Various harm reduction items including clean syringes, crack pipes and condoms rest on the floor of the Mobile Needle Exchange van in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, March 1, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

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