Needle disposal bins recommended for public washrooms
One needle disposal box used for depositing loose supplies and containers up to two litres installed in Haliburton at Head Lake Park last year is being used. The bin, installed to help reduce needles being discarded in public places, has a capacity of about 6,000 needles and has been emptied once or twice since being installed.
“It’s being used but it’s not being overly used,” said Angela Andrews, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit health promoter, at Dysart council's Oct. 22 meeting. “It’s a great thing to have.”
Andrews approached council to note that more can be done to help facilitate safe needle disposal and harm reduction.
“Harm reduction is a respectful, non-judgemental approach to reducing harms associated with behaviours that meet people where they’re at, it’s not about fixing people,” said Andrews. “It’s about health protection, community safety and cost effectiveness.”
Her delegation to council focused on community safety.
“Basically we’re looking at what more can we do to keep our community safe and how can we work better together with [Dysart staff] to keep needles off of the ground and to dispose of them safely,” she said.
Andrews suggested the possibility of adding a wall-mounted needle disposal bin, which costs about $100, in library washrooms, at park washrooms and in the arena washroom.
She recommended policy implementation and training for parks and recreation staff on safe handling of found needles, signage on what the public should do if they come across a found needle as well as the installation in the park of a “found needle kit,” which offers tongs and gloves, and education of landfill staff and parks and rec staff on how to keep needles out of the garbage.
Andrews said she didn’t have specific numbers for how many injection kits had been distributed by the local health unit, but had reviewed numbers for all of HKPR and said, “it’s a lot.”
Andrea Mueller, recreation program coordinator, said she knows of people using needles for medical purposes, including insulin, who could make use of the box as well.
Andrews said used needles are also being returned to local pharmacies.
Mayor Andrea Roberts said a decision was not being made that day but the recommendation would be looked at during budget time.