Disposing of needles safely
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:
- 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
- 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
- Do not hold the container in your hand
- Put the needle in the container sharp-end first and secure the lid
- Dispose of the container or bring it to your local pharmacy or Public Health Unit
- 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.