TULSA, Okla. — A new pilot program in Oklahoma is aiming to help people safely dispose of sharp medical objects like needles and syringes.
“It’s a health risk," said Scott Cassel, founder and CEO of Product Stewardship Institute. "It’s a big health risk for the community.”
Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) started the new pilot disposal program. According to PSI, more than 100,000 Oklahomans use these items for medical conditions like diabetes, using between 20 million and 50 million needles per year. Many of which are disposed of improperly.
“We just want to let people know if you have medical sharps you do not want to put them into your garbage separately," Cassel said. "You do not want to put them down the toilet, down the drain.”
PSI is partnering with organizations like Stop Harm on Tulsa Streets - or SHOTS As part of the program, you can come to SHOTS and pick up one of the disposal bins, take it home, and bring it back when it’s full and they’ll get rid of it for you. Doing so is important for the health and safety of others.
“Needles can transmit diseases, fluids, other things," Cassel said. "It’s just not good to have those lying around.”
“They’re sharp and potentially infectious," said Jennifer Sharp, program director for SHOTS. "So, they do need to be treated like medical waste and disposed of accordingly.”
Sharp said it doesn’t matter if the sharp objects were used for a medical condition or drug use. It's a no-questions-asked program.
“Anyone can use this program though," Sharp said. "So we know people use syringes and needles for all kinds of things. So this program is a free program for anyone in Tulsa who wants to use it.”
You can drop off medical sharps at the following locations:
Stop Harm on Tulsa Streets (SHOTS) at the H.O.P.E. Testing Clinic
3540 E 31st St #3, Tulsa, OK 74135
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Oklahoma Harm Reduction Alliance (OKHRA)
3rd Saturday of each month, January to June 2022
Church of the Good Shepherd, 1420 E Dewey Ave, Sapulpa, OK 74066
Trinity Episcopal Church, 501 S Cincinnati Ave, Tulsa, OK 74103
Sharp said SHOTS will also come out and clean up areas littered with needles. You can contact them on their Facebook page here.
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