Thursday, 15 June 2017 11:39

County Health Department Seeks Info on Littering of Used Needles and Syringes

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County Health Department Seeks Info on Littering of Used Needles and Syringes Supplied photo

As more and more people use needles and syringes to manage their medical conditions outside of hospitals and health centers, residents of many towns and villages have seen an increased number of improperly disposed of needles and syringes.

Improper disposal of these medical "sharps" make all residents, especially children, vulnerable to serious injuries. To identify locations of these sharps, determine the needs of managing these medical wastes, and explore ways to make our community safe from medical-sharp-related health hazards, the Oswego County Health Department will compile information about improperly disposed of needles and syringes throughout the county. The Substance Use Disorder and Recovery Team of the County’s Poverty Reduction Task Force provided great assistance in developing this project.

The survey will be conducted between June 19 and Aug. 11, 2017. When you see needles and syringes that are improperly discarded in public places such as parks, playgrounds, and sidewalks, or private backyards, please dial (315) 349-3563. This number will allow you to leave a message. Please provide information on when and where you found the needles or syringe, and how many you found. The (315) 349-3563 number is for messages for this survey only. If you need to speak with a staff person, please leave your name and a phone number. We will try to make follow-up phone calls within 48-72 hours.

Due to resource restraints, we cannot come to remove the sharps onsite. Please follow these steps before you call the survey phone number:

- Use tongs or gloves to pick up the sharps and immediately place them in a sharp disposal container.

- Use a puncture-proof plastic container with a tight-fitting screw top. A plastic soda bottle, a laundry detergent bottle, or a bleach bottle is good. Don't use glass because it can break. Coffee cans and milk bottles are not recommended because the plastic lids come off too easily.

- Label the container clearly. Write "Sharps. DO NOT recycle" with a waterproof marker directly on the container or on masking tape on the container. Keep the container away from children.

- Put the bottle in the trash (not recyclables), properly marked as indicated above, for picking up or sending to a dump station; or

- Take the sharp container to a hospital or nursing home, or go to or call 1-800-541-2437 (or 1-800-522-5006) to find other places that collect used sharps near you.

- Do not throw out loose sharps, or put sharps into trash bags directly, or flush sharps into the toilet.

- Do not use a glass bottle, a milk container, or a coffee can as a container for collecting needles or syringes.

- Do not clip, bend, or recap the needles because you could injure yourself.

- Do not put containers of sharps in the recycling bin. Sharps are not recyclable.

- In case you are stuck by a sharp, please contact your primary care physician or go to an urgent care facility.

With your support of this study, the Health Department will compile baseline data and develop a plan to make our community environment safe from needle and syringe-related injuries.

When you see sharps in your community, collect and dispose of them properly, and call (315) 349-3563. Together we will build a medical-sharp-safe community.

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