Thunder Bay Drug Strategy on Dealing with Discarded Needles

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Needles are showing up as the snow melts in Thunder Bay
Needles are showing up as the snow melts in Thunder Bay

Needles are showing up as the snow melts in Thunder Bay
Needles are showing up as the snow melts in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY – As temperatures warm and snow begins to melt, the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy is reminding residents to take care if they find a discarded needle.

“The majority of individuals who use injection drugs take responsibility for safely and properly disposing of their equipment, including needles,” said Anne Ostrom, Acting Coordinator – Thunder Bay Drug Strategy. “However, some needles are discarded on the ground, and may be uncovered as snow melts. The public can take some simple steps to ensure those needles are disposed of safely.”

The public is reminded that disposing of needles is not a core function of Thunder Bay Police and they will be directing callers to Superior Points to deal with the discarded needles. If a discarded needle is found, the following steps should be taken:

Call Superior Points to come pick up the discarded equipment (625-8831 or 625-7996)

Or, if you choose to pick up yourself:

Use tongs or pliers to pick needles up.

Store the needles in a hard plastic container with a lid, such as an empty peanut butter jar. Don’t use a glass container, as it can break.

Mark the container with the word “needle.”

Containers can be dropped off at Elevate NWO, Shelter House or Thunder Bay District Health Unit, or you can call Superior Points at 625-8831 to have the container picked up.

Single needles can be dropped into any of the yellow metal disposal bins found in various locations throughout the City. For locations, visit TBDHU.com and click on sexual health, then needle exchange.

“The risk of picking up an infection from a publicly discarded needle is remote, however we advise everyone to handle sharps with care,” says Roger Prasad, Manager – Sexual Health and Clinical Programs at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

Needle disposal kits are also available from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit through Superior Points, or at Shelter House and Elevate NWO. The kits include tongs, a plastic container, rubber gloves and instructions.

Safe injection equipment is also available to Thunder Bay residents from Superior Points, Shelter House and Elevate NWO.