This is a timely subject on our campus; but not because of insulin syringes. Our campus Health Center provides free sharps disposal containers to all insulin users on campus. They can pick up new ones and drop off their old ones through the Health Center.
There is increasing use of heroin nationwide and there is evidence of use on our campus. Our Health Center medical director has asked in EH&S to take a look at placing sharps containers in all the dorm bathrooms, as he is concerned about disposal of needles from illicit drug use. I don't think we are the only campus having to consider this problem. According to a 60 minutes program in early November, it is reaching epidemic proportions in Ohio and other areas across the nation. I have noticed in airports in other cities that sharps containers are turning up next to the paper towel dispensers in public bathrooms.
This is not something any campus wants to face, but it is happening. We are training our custodial and other affected staff to be aware of stray needles, how to avoid accidental needle pricks, and what to do if they get sustain an accidental needle stick.
There is always something new to learn!
The question has come up concerning students or personnel on campus who use injectable insulin, and what is to become of the syringes after use. If there are other universities that have encountered this issue, I would appreciate hearing about how it was dealt with.
Karalyn (Karen) Humphrey, Ph.D
Laboratory Safety Program Manager
& Radiation Safety Officer
Department of Environmental, Health & Safety
Office: Draper 244.10
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