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Safe use of needles (and other sharps, such as lancets) lowers your risk of getting or spreading a serious disease. Some diseases that can be passed through unsafe needle use include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.
Don't reuse needles or syringes, even if you are the only one using them. And don't try to clean them instead. Cleaning can't fully remove bacteria and viruses.
Sharing these supplies can pass infections or diseases from one person to another.
Get what you need from your doctor or pharmacy before your supplies get too low. That way, you won't risk running out.
These programs are sometimes called syringe services. They're usually geared toward helping people who use illegal drugs. They help people who inject drugs get new needles and syringes. And they dispose of used ones safely.
Not all areas have these programs, but yours might. Check with your local public health authority to find a program that gives out needles in your area.
Use a sharps disposal container. Put needles and syringes into the container right away after you use them. Don't overfill the container. And never put your fingers or hands inside of it.
Used needles, syringes, and lancets (sharps) can be dangerous to people and pets. When sharps aren't disposed of correctly, others can get poked. Used sharps can spread diseases and cause injury and infection.
A container made to hold used sharps is best. You can get one from your local public health authority, a medical supplier, a drugstore, or online.
Don't force them in. Never put your fingers or hands inside the container.
Stop at the fill line, if your container has one. If it doesn't, stop when the container is three-fourths full.
Sharps can't be recycled. Neither can sharps containers. Loose sharps put in the trash can hurt waste workers.
Some areas have laws requiring special disposal of sharps containers. In other areas, you can throw them away in your household trash. Check with your local public health authority for the rules in your area.
Adaptation Date: 2/28/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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