Finding needles in community areas such as parks is a health and safety concern for everyone. Used syringes should be disposed of properly in order to protect others from injury and infections like Hepatitis C and HIV. It’s important to remember that the risk of becoming infected with one of these infections through a needlestick injury is very low. Prevention is the best way to stay safe.
What do I do if I find a needle in the community?
If you find a needle on public municipal property (such as a park or splash pad), you can call the Chatham Kent Public Health Unit at 519-352-7270 ext 2902. Please be aware that the Health Unit does NOT pick up needles on private property. If you find a needle on private property, you need to call the CK Police at 519-352-1234 ext. 0
How do I handle and dispose of a found needle?
If you have a sharps container and are comfortable disposing of the needle yourself, there are very important steps to follow so that you do not get injured.
- Use caution. Treat all needles and other sharps (lancets, crack pipes) as contaminated. Do not try to put the cap back on a needle.
- If you do not have a specialized sharps disposal container, you will need a non-breakable, puncture-proof container with a lid (e.g. a hard plastic container or tin can).
- Wear gloves if possible. Gloves will help protect against exposure to fluids in or on the needle, but will not protect against punctures or cuts.
- Use tongs, pliers or tweezers to pick up the needle. Pick up a needle by the plastic end and keep it pointed away from you.
- Put the container on a stable surface next to the needle. Do not hold the container in your hand when placing the needle inside. Do not force the needle into the container or overfill it.
- Close the container securely.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub.
You may bring the container to our clinic location at the WISH Centre (177 King St. East) for disposal. Never flush needles down the toilet or put them in the garbage or recycling box.
Teach children to never touch a needle, but to tell an adult where they found it.
What should I do if I am exposed to blood while handling a needle or other sharp object?
If you are exposed to blood while handling a needle (such as a needle stick or cut) contact or visit a health care provider as soon as possible. The health care provider will provide advice about the need for blood tests, vaccinations and/or medications.
Where can I get a free sharps container?
The following locations offer free sharps containers:
- Chatham Kent Public Health Unit (Clinic Services Location-177 King St. East at the WISH centre) Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30
- Aids Support Chatham Kent (Adelaide St. S Chatham) Tuesdays – Thursdays, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and is closed daily from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch.
- Shoppers Drug Mart in Wallaceburg @ Pharmacy Counter; Monday – Friday 8:00am-10:00pm, Sat 9am-9pm, Sun 10am-9pm