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 link

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.

Spokane C.O.P.S.

By Spokane C.O.P.S. 21 Sep, 2016
You don't need to be a police officer to play a role in reducing crime in Spokane! Everyday people are stepping up to make their community safer-here's our favorite stories of citizens taking action to make our city safer.
By Spokane C.O.P.S. 07 Sep, 2016

Over 7,000 cases of personal property theft have been recorded so far this year (up 4.5% from this time last year). In many of these cases, Spokane police officers are able to recover the stolen property...with no way of identifying the owner. When they can’t find the owner, the items eventually go to auction to free up much needed space in the police evidence facility. This raises an important question-if your property is stolen and recovered by police, would you be able to prove it’s yours?

That’s where Operation ID comes into play. The idea is to mark your valuable possessions with an identifying number (like your driver’s license number). Engraving a number helps deter theft since it’s harder to sell an ID-ed item to a pawn shop. If the item is stolen, the identifying number helps you prove ownership of the item to the police.

Operation ID also involves creating an inventory of the make and model of all ID-ed items, which you then put in a secure place. In the event of theft, fire damage, or other incident where you need to make a claim to your insurance company for item replacement, your information is ready for the insurance company.

Operation ID is a free service that only takes a few minutes. Bring your valuables to your local C.O.P.S. shop to borrow an engraver and pick up an inventory log.

Another property identification program is , a city wide bike registration database. The information uploaded during registration is used by police to connect a recovered bike to its rightful owner. You can bring your bike by your local C.O.P.S. shop and our volunteers will register it for you (and you can get a free child’s helmet while supplies last).

For more crime prevention information, check out our Facebook , Twitter , Linkedin , and Pinterest .
By Spokane C.O.P.S. 05 Sep, 2016

Here are the top news stories about SPD, Spokane crime rates, significant arrests, and more.

By Spokane C.O.P.S. 31 Aug, 2016
The Sex Offender Registry is a tool allowing citizens to access information on registered sex offenders. Here’s a breakdown on what you need to know.
By Spokane C.O.P.S. 24 Aug, 2016
Getting a social media account hacked is a stressful experience, with potential harms of reputation damaging information posted, identifying information collected, and the logistics of undoing the damage. While no social media account is 100% impenetrable, there are easy steps to take to drastically reduce your risk of your Twitter account being hacked.
By Spokane C.O.P.S. 24 Aug, 2016
Early September is an interesting time of year, showing the full range of human emotions. Children everywhere enter a state of depression as they begin getting their school materials ready, while simultaneously most parents burst out singing the old classic, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” at the thought of getting the kids out of the house again. At least that’s how it was in my family growing up.

But there is one thing everyone can agree on: staying safe. And we here at Spokane C.O.P.S. are, as usual, committed to your safety. So we’ve created a list of a few things that you can do to help keep your kids safe as they head back to school.
By Spokane C.O.P.S. 21 Aug, 2016

Here are the top news stories about SPD, Spokane crime rates, significant arrests, and more.

By Spokane C.O.P.S. 17 Aug, 2016
NNO 2016 was a blast with 73 registered parties and 31 new parties! We are proud of our citizens coming together with their neighbors to take a stand against crime, build relationships with each other and the police, and play a role in making Spokane a safer and better community. Below are some of the highlights from this great event.
By Spokane C.O.P.S. 14 Aug, 2016

Here are the top news stories about SPD, Spokane crime rates, significant arrests, and more.

By Spokane C.O.P.S. 10 Aug, 2016
Neighbors who are connected together become powerful watchdogs at preventing crime. They can more easily identify suspicious people, can assist each other with tasks like checking in on homes while the owners are on vacation, and more. Creating strong neighborhood connections is a simple way to proactively prevent crime in your community. Check out these ideas to bring your neighbors back together to build those powerful crime preventing relationships (and for ideas on actionable crime prevention ideas, check out our blog post here ).
More Posts
Share by: