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 the steps below to safely dispose of the needle.

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

Step one:

  • 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 two:

  • 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 three:

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

Step four:

  • Safely dispose of container at your local pharmacy, public health unit or harm reduction site.

Step five:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.

What should I do if I 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 do I call if I don't want to pick it up?

Call your local public health unit to find out about collection options.

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