From: Mrs S. Baxter, Links Drive, Bexhill
File this one under – ‘it doesn’t happen in our neighbourhood’.
I had an EpiPen which I need to carry in my handbag, in case of severe allergic reactions. The EpiPen (thankfully) had not needed to be used and the expiry date on it indicated I needed a new one, which was obtained on prescription from my GP surgery.
I took the expired EpiPen to the chemist that had dispensed it to me. Oh no, they didn’t have a needle disposal.
Strange, as they take outdated pills but not my outdated syringe.
They suggested I go next door to an equally well-known chain of pharmacies and ask them to dispose of it there. They also suggested I should call the council and ask for a “proper needle disposal bin”. For one unused syringe?
So, I proceeded to the second pharmacy, and they didn’t dispose of syringes either.
In the end, I drove to Conquest A&E. The receptionist there kindly took it from me and immediately threw it into the proper yellow disposal sharps bin.
This got me thinking about used needles being left around in parks and public washrooms for instance. Why don’t we provide proper needle disposals in these places?
Why do we make it so hard for people to dispose of them? By making it easier, we aren’t promoting drug use, but instead making these places safer for the general public.
Drug abuse is all around us. We all need to open our eyes to its existence, right under our noses.
We must all acknowledge that our society has a drug problem, instead of denying the problem exists.
One way of starting that dialogue is providing proper public needle disposals in public places with accompanying helpful information stating where people can go to get support.
Just one small community measure that would go a long way in admitting there is a huge drug problem out there.
Measures like this help protect the general public from diseases and injury by ensuring that used needles are properly disposed of.
The displaying of a bright yellow sharps disposal box with information contained on it about local drug treatment centres, posted in a public area, shows two important things:
Firstly, it shows that the community acknowledges the drug problems in their own local society and is taking positive action towards solving them.
Secondly, it shows a concern for public safety, by providing a visible container to safely contain a possible source of disease or injury from a used needle.
Society needs to get its head out of the sand and acknowledge that we all have a collective part in solving this problem. It won’t go away by ignoring it.
That means acknowledging that there is a problem at the local level, in our own neighbourhoods, and taking positive steps to alleviate the problem.