Law enforcement in Monongalia County now have a safer way to dispose of used needles.
Mon Health donated and distributed about 200 sharps containers for officers to place in their vehicles.
“The needles have been basically spewed all over the county,” said Jeffrey Haught, Trauma Program manager for Mon Health.
The boxes are made of industrial strength plastic and are compact enough to be carried to the site of the needle for a safer pick-up.
“They’ve received multiple phone calls from people asking, they’ve found a needle at the park can you come pick it up? Well they can come pick it up but they honestly have no protection for them to keep from getting stuck,” Haught explained.
Once the containers are full, law enforcement agencies make their own arrangements for permanent disposal.
Mon Health was part of a community needs assessment, focused on the opioid epidemic. As a result, the healthcare provider believed providing these containers was the best way to get used needles off the streets and protect officers.
“They are looking at a needle that they don’t know where it’s been or what it’s been used for, so the exposure issue is very very prominent out there and it’s worrisome,” Haught said.
Containers were given to the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department, the West Virginia State Police Morgantown detachment as well as the Morgantown, Granville Westover and Star City Police Departments.
Haught and law enforcement both remind the public to never touch a used needle.
“They do now know who it’s been in or where it’s been, what it’s been tracked though and what contaminants because there’s all kind of bacteria that’s out there,” Haught continued.
He also said to call authorities immediately if a needle is found.