Southwest Memorial Hospital has implemented a free syringe disposal program.
More than 7.8 billion needles are used each year by the 13.5 million people in the U.S. who self-inject medications outside a health care setting.
The number of drugs injected at home continues to grow, and the use of needles, also called sharps, in the home highlights the significant challenges of where and how to dispose of them.
Now Southwest Health System in Cortez is a designated residential sharps disposal location. Empty needle containers can be picked up from the Southwest health System retail pharmacy at 1311-A N. Mildred Road, in the physician offices building next to the hospital. When full, they can be returned to the same location.
The program alleviates safety concerns with the city of Cortez and other residential trash disposal companies because there hasn’t been a designated disposal site in the community, said hospital spokeswoman Bridgett Jabour.
The program will reduce the number of needles that enter the residential trash collection system.
“Where can needles be disposed of is probably the number one question infection control gets on a weekly basis here at the hospital,” said SHS Pharmacy Director Marc Meyer.
He said The Family Sharps Disposal Program is key to keeping sharps waste out of the landfill and properly placed in a medical waste facility.
“It certainly makes it easy, safe and cost-effective for individuals to dispose of syringes,” Meyer said.
The state of Colorado has authorized SHS to provide the service to the community.
“Now that there is a safe way for households to dispose of needles, I encourage every family to take advantage of this program,” said Cortez Mayor Karen Sheek. “This will eliminate potential injury to city and county refuse handlers and will help keep hazardous biowaste out of our landfill.”
For questions about the used needle disposal program, call 970-564-2280.