March 31, 2016 –- THUNDER BAY, ON ----- The arrival of spring and warmer temperatures uncover large amounts of litter on city streets and parks, and the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy is reminding residents to take care if they find a discarded needle.
Disposing of needles is not a core function of the Thunder Bay Police, so residents are being urged to contact Superior Points to deal with the discarded needles, or take some simple steps to safely dispose of the needles themselves.
“The vast majority of people who inject drugs dispose of their equipment, including syringes, responsibly,” said Cynthia Olsen, Thunder Bay Drug Strategy Coordinator. “However, some needles that are often unused are discarded on the ground, and may be uncovered as snow melts.”
If a discarded needle is found, or a container of needles needs to be picked up, residents can call Superior Points at 625-8831 or 625-7996.
Steps to safely handle needles that are found include:
• Use tongs or pliers and store needles in a hard plastic container with a lid, such as an empty peanut butter jar. Don’t use a glass container, as it can break.
• Mark the container with the word needle.
• Drop off containers at Elevate NWO, Shelter House or the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.
• Drop off single needles into any of the yellow metal disposal bins found throughout the City. For locations, visit TBDHU.com and click on sexual health, then needle exchange.
“Although the actual risk of infection from a needle stick injury is very low, everyone who handles them should do so with great care,” says Tanelle Rabachuk, Manager of Sexual Health and Clinical Programs at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.
Needle disposal kits are available from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit through Superior Points, or at Elevate NWO. The kits include tongs, a plastic container, rubber gloves and safety instructions.
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