Disposing of needles safely

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Fraser Health supports needle distribution not needle exchange as an evidence-based strategy to improve health as directed by the Provincial Harm Reduction Strategies and Services program. Learn more about the difference between needle exchange and distribution

If you find a discarded needle in a public place, you can call your local Public Health Unit to find out about collection options. Or follow these steps to safely dispose of the needle:

Step 1:

  • Find a rigid plastic container with a secure lid (e.g. a pop bottle or liquid laundry bottle)
  • Remove the lid and place the container on the ground beside the needle
  • Do not break or recap the needle

Step 2:

  • Pick up the needle by the centre of the barrel
  • Use latex gloves or tongs, if available
  • Always point the sharp end of the needle down and away from you

Step 3:

  • Do not hold the container in your hand
  • Put the needle in the container sharp-end first and secure the lid

Step 4:

Step 5:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water

What to do if you have been poked or scratched by a needle?

  • Don’t panic. The risk of infection is low. There are no reports of HIV infection following a needle stick injury in the community.
  • Wash the affected area with soap and water. Do not squeeze.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.

Who to call if you don’t want to pick it up?

Call your local Public Health Unit to find out about collection options.

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