Syringes and Hypodermic Needles

  • By Spokane C.O.P.S.
  • 23 Feb, 2016

How to safely dispose of a syringe or needle

syringe or needle in grass

Noticed Syringes or Needles in Your Neighborhood?

Lately there seems to be more needles found lying on the street, in parks, and on peoples’ personal property. KREM 2's Raishad Hardnett  reached out to Spokane C.O.P.S. for more information, and you can watch our news interview here .  Citizens are coming into their neighborhood C.O.P.S. shop rightfully concerned about this and wondering what they can do about it.

What is the risk of syringes or needles on the ground?

If people or animals step on one or otherwise manage to puncture their skin, they are putting themselves at potential risk for coming into contact with things like HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and a myriad of other infections that may have transferred from the user’s body to that needle. Not only is there concern for a transfer of those biological entities, but chemical transfers can happen as well. Whatever drugs were in that needle will leave a residue, and that residue can transfer to people who punctures their skin with it. Needles pose a risk to you and the people around you, and should never be ignored.

What should I do if I find a syringe or needle?

The action you can take depends on where you find it. If it’s in a city-owned area, such as a park, you can call Code Enforcement at 509-625-6083 or call 509-755-CITY and they will get the call to the appropriate people to come get the needle. If the needle is found in your own yard, you will need to dispose of it yourself. While the thought of touching a used hypodermic needle is understandably concerning, you can do it in a way that is safe and doesn’t put you at risk.   Remember, failing to remove a needle is what really puts yourself and your family or neighbors at risk.  

How do I safely dispose of it myself?

According to the Washington State Department of Ecology's Hazardous Material Team, as well as the Spokane Regional Health District, here’s how to do it safely:
  • Get a pair of disposable gloves, a pair of pliers, and a storage device with puncture-proof sides (such as Rubbermaid container, old bottle of bleach, old coffee can).
  • Survey the area. If there is one needle, there may be more. You don’t want to step on another, unseen needle while focused on the original one. 
  • Put the gloves on to protect your hands.
  • Set the container next to needle, don't hold it in your hands when you pick up the needle.
  • Use the pliers to pick up the needle and put it in the container. Using the pliers enables you to not come in direct contact with the needle, making the chance of skin puncture almost non-existent.
  • Keep the needle pointed away from you when you move it.
  •  Put the lid on the container. Make the sure the lid is properly secured so it doesn’t come off during transport.
  • Dispose of the needle properly by taking it to any neighborhood C.O.P.S. shop or another qualified vendor in the city

Where do I go for more information?

For a great handout from the Spokane Regional Health District that has even more information on finding a used syringe, go to this link .

For more information on hypodermic needles on the city’s site, go to this linkhttps://my.spokanecity.org/solidwaste/hazardous/


For more safety and crime prevention information, check out our  FacebookTwitter ,   Pinterest , or Linkedin .
Want to make Spokane a safer place? Volunteer at your local C.O.P.S. shop with one of our crime prevention programs , from lifting fingerprints off of vehicles to catch car prowlers to organizing a block watch for your neighborhood.

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