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 (often referred to as 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 sharps containers may be picked up from the SHS Retail Pharmacy at 1311A North Mildred Road, in the physician offices building next to the hospital. When full, they may be returned to the same location.
The program alleviates safety concerns with the city of Cortez and other residential trash disposal companies as there has not been a designated disposal site in the community, said hospital spokesperson Bridgett Jabour.
The program will reduce sharps being disposed of through regular residential trash pickup.
“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 bio-waste out of our landfill.”
For more information, call 564-2280.