More than 17,300 used sharps needles and syringes returned in November
The Sharps Buy Back campaign, launched by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit in November resulted in more than 17,300 used sharps (needles or syringes) returned.
As a result, the Sharps Buy Back campaign has been extended through December.
Sharps Buy Back is an initiative launched by the health unit to collect sharps while promoting the safe handling of used sharps. The initiative also aims to connect people with harm reduction and health services offered through the health unit.
“The health unit is working with community partners to spread the word among individuals within our community. It is important that we offer safe, judgement-free options for sharps disposal and other harm-reduction services,” said Auburn Larose, community health promoter at the health unit.
While the incentive campaign will only run until the end of the month, the health unit provides needle disposal and exchange services year round. These programs are part of its harm-reduction philosophy with the goal of reducing the harm that could result from drug use.
Those who use drugs are at risk of transmitting HIV, hepatitis and other blood borne infections. Needle exchange services are proven to reduce the spread of infection without increasing intravenous drug use.
Sharps Buy Back does not encourage the general public to search out 100 sharps to return for the $5 grocery gift certificate, rather those who use sharps to dispose of them safely at the health unit.
In addition to the sharps exchange program, the health unit also offers naloxone kits, safer inhalation kits, safer crystal meth kits and a variety of other health services like free dental care for eligible adults and children, free or low-cost birth control options, and hepatitis C, HIV and STI testing.
For more information on the Sharps Buy Back campaign, visit www.myhealthunit.ca/sharps or call 1-800-563-2808.Quick Facts
If a sharp is found in the community, follow these instructions to pick it up safely:
• Do not walk while holding the sharp object
• Bring a puncture-proof, hard-sided, leak-proof container with a lid, such as a pickle jar or bleach container, to the area where the sharp was found
• Do not recap, bend, break the needle or manipulate it by hand in any way
• Place the object in the container. Use tongs if available. If tongs are not available, pick up the needle/sharp from the blunt end and secure the lid
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water
• Label the container as ‘hazardous waste’ and bring to the health unit for proper disposal