Anyone who uses a needle to inject should dispose of it safely. However, sometimes discarded needles are found in public areas. Safe disposal of needles saves others from getting hurt accidentally. Fortunately, the risk of being infected by an accidental needle stick is rare.
Safe Needle Disposal
- don't try to replace the cap on needles
- don't snap, break or bend needles
- pick up needle with care, use work gloves and tongs if available
- hold needle point away from you
- put needle in a metal or hard plastic container with a lid (i.e. product or drink bottle)
- replace cap on container securely and label it
- wash hands thoroughly with soap and water
- drop off the sealed container at your local public health unit or at a community drop box
Call your municipality to find out if community drop boxes are accessible in your area. Other locations for drop-off and harm reduction supply distribution can be found at towardtheheart.com.
What to do if you are pricked by a needle
Please take the following steps:
- allow wound to bleed freely
- quickly wash the injured area with soap and warm water
- do not squeeze or bleach the injured area
- call 8-1-1 immediately for advice 24/7
Visit your local emergency department immediately for follow-up care.
For more information call the Communicable Disease program at Island Health (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.):
- South Island: 1-866-665-6626
- Central Island: 1-866-770-7798
- North Island: 1-877-887-8835
This page explains what to do if you find a syringe or a needle and focuses on safe sharps disposal.