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 discarded needles, broken glass pipes or other sharp materials in a public place, you can help your community stay safe by calling your local public health unit to find a community harm reduction distribution program to arrange collection. Or, follow these steps to dispose of them safely:
- Find a rigid plastic container (e.g. a pop bottle or liquid laundry bottle)
- Place the bottle on the ground near item to be disposed of
- Do not recap the syringe or break off the needle
- Use gloves with tongs or pliers to firmly grasp the plunger end (the non-sharp end)
- Use one hand and keep it in sight
- Always point the sharp end of the needle down and away from you
- Do not hold bottle in your hand
- Put the needle in sharp-end first and tightly seal
- Dispose of container or bring it to your local pharmacy or public health unit
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards
What if you have been poked, scratched, or cut by used equipment?
- Do not panic. The risk of infection (HIV, Hepatitis B or C) is low.
- Wash the affected area immediately with soap and warm water, do not squeeze.
- Seek medical attention immediately.