Safe Needle Disposal
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​Needles are used by a wide range of community members, including people with medical conditions, and people who use substances. When needles are discarded improperly in a public place, it is often a result of not having easy access to safe disposal. 

Interior Health supports safe needle disposal through:

Sharps disposal and retrieval by community

Note: You can also return sharps to all IH public health, mental health and substance use, and primary care sites for safe disposal.


Community​ Container Locations Pick Up Service​ ​Phone Hours
Kelowna ​City of Kelowna - non-emergency, public areas only 250-469-8801
Kamloops Kamloops sharps container map ​​City of Kamloops Bylaw Services
250-828-3409
Overdose Prevention Team ​​778-257-1292
​​Downtown CAP Team 250-572-3009

North Shore CAP Team

250-318-7664

Penticton ​Penticton sharps container map

​City of Penticton

250-490-2400


M-SA: 8am-430pm

One Sky Crew 250-488-1376 M & F mornings (days and hours may change)
​​SOWINS Mobile Outreach 250-809-7054
W, F, SA: 11am-5pm

​City of Vernon Sharp Hotline

250-550-7841

M-F: 8am-4pm

 

What to do if you find a discarded needle

If a discarded needle is found in a public place, your local health unit or municipality can advise on needle collection services in your community. Alternatively, the following steps should be taken to safely dispose of the needle.

Step 1

  • Find a rigid plastic container with a secure lid (e.g. plastic drink bottle with a wide mouth, liquid laundry bottle).
  • Remove the lid and place the container on the ground beside the needle.
  • Do not break or recap the needle.

Step 2

  • Pick up the needle by the centre of the syringe barrel with care.
  • Use work or latex gloves, or tongs, if available.
  • Always point the sharp end of the needle down and away from you.

Step 3

  • Put the needle in the container, sharp-end first, and secure the lid.
  • While doing this step, the container should be on the ground; do not hold it in your hand.
  • Remove gloves and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Step 4

  • Drop off the sealed container at a local health unit, pharmacy or community drop box.

More information

Community needle stick injuries – what to do and what is the risk?

Getting poked by a needle can be concerning. However, it is important to remember that the risk of infection from an improperly discarded needle in the community is extremely low. In the event of a needle stick injury, the following steps should be taken:

  • Allow the wound to bleed freely. Do not squeeze the wound. This may damage the tissues and increase risk of infection.
  • Wash the wound with soap and water. Do not apply bleach or alcohol to the wound.
  • Go to your local emergency department immediately for follow-up care. An assessment will be done to determine the need for post-exposure prophylaxis (e.g. medications and/or vaccinations to further reduce the risk of transmission). Baseline blood tests for HBV, HCV and HIV will be done at this visit, with follow-up blood tests to be done over the next three months to make sure none of these viruses have been transmitted.

Learn more about community needle stick injuries (BCCDC).

As a step towards reconciliation, Interior Health acknowledges the land that we live, work, and play on as the traditional territories of the Dakelh Dene, Ktunaxa, Nlaka’pamux, Secwepemc, St’at’imc, Syilx and Tsilhqot’in peoples. It is with humility that we continue to strengthen our relationships with the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples of the interior.
MoH     PCQO