Drug and needle debris is a challenging issue for Red Deer, but our community is not alone. Cities across the globe are tackling this issue with strategies to ensure individuals and communities are as safe and healthy as possible.
Needles are used by people with specific health conditions and addictions. Safe disposal of these needles reduces the chances of injury. The majority of needles in our community are disposed of safely by the people who have used them, however, there is still work to be done to respond to community needle debris. People who use needles and the community at large have a shared responsibility for safe disposal.
A number of Red Deer agencies and community members have come together as the Public Injection & Debris Committee, a subcommittee of the Downtown Community Development Committee, to address the growing concern of drug and needle debris.
The committee uses The Red Deer Alcohol & Drug Strategy as its guide to ensure people who use needles can access safe disposal options, and that drug and needle debris in the community is dealt with promptly and safely.
I found a needle. What do I do?
Always treat each needle as contaminated. You have a couple of options if you find one:
- I’m too nervous to pick it up or I am unequipped to pick it up.
- Cover or mark the needle with an object.
- Call 403-342-8238 for disposal.
- I’m willing and equipped to pick it up.
- I have gloves, tongs or pliers, and a hard sharps container (or plastic bottle with lid).
- Needle pickup kits are available at your nearest fire hall.
- Put on latex, rubber or leather gloves. Use tongs or pliers to carefully pick up needle with tip pointed away from you.
- Put sharps container on stable surface (do not hold it while putting needle inside). Put needle point down into the container and close lid.
- Do NOT place container in garbage. Dispose of at nearest needle disposal location:
- Fire stations 1 (4941 46 Street), 2 (5839 67 Street) & Headquarters (4340 32 Street) have 24-hour drop boxes
- Many pharmacies accept needles
- Turning Point (4611 50 Avenue)
- Brown needle drop boxes located through parks and trails
- Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer once you’re done
If you get pricked by a needle:
- Flush the area with flowing water.
- Wash the wound well with soap and warm water.
- Seek medical attention for an assessment of the risk of infection and appropriate treatment.