Needles Found in Area as Snow Melts

It's not about being fearful in the situation when encountering used needles in your community, but instead, taking proactive steps to carefully discard them.

TWIN PORTS – Fear and shame. Those are words experts want people to avoid using when talking about needles. They say proper education and protocol are needed when disposing of needles.

It’s not about being fearful in the situation when encountering used needles in your community, but instead, taking proactive steps to carefully discard them…especially when the snow melts after a long winter.

“Shame and anger doesn’t get someone sober, shame and anger isn’t going to get our community free of needles. It’s a community-health crisis, which means we need the community to come together to do the clean-up,” said Jessica Nickila, Opioid Program Technician.

Experts say disposing of needles on your own can be safe. You’re encouraged to wear gloves, place the needle in the rigid container, and then dispose at a designated drop-off site while avoiding the trash or the toilet.

“They’re a hazard to adults, they’re especially a hazard to children because they’re little and plastic and have orange caps and might look exciting to them. We do not want children to pick them up because if they get stuck again, they could get a blood-born disease. They’re dangerous for that reason,” said Amber Haglund-Pagel, Safety and Training Officer for the City of Duluth.

If you don’t feel comfortable disposing of a used needle on your own, you can call the Sharps Hotline at 218-730-4001. It is available 24 hours a day, and received more than 300 calls last year.

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