New needle disposal guide emphasizes safety

Needle disposal kits available to pick up in Red Deer locations

Have you ever found a needle in Red Deer and not known what to do? There’s now a guide to help people through the experience.

Red Deer’s Needle Disposal Guide lays out what to do and who to call if citizens find a needle and are too nervous to pick it up. It also explains what citizens should do if they’re comfortable and equipped to pick it up and dispose of it safely.

“If we want a clean and safe Red Deer, we have to take a shared approach to disposing of needles,” said Ryan Veldkamp, with the Public Injection & Debris Committee. “We know that if you are properly equipped, you can safely pick up and dispose of a needle. However, we also understand some people will be nervous doing that, so we have a phone number to call where City staff will dispatch the appropriate person(s) to pick up any needles found.”

The guide outlines in detail two options for those who find a needle. Those too nervous or unequipped to pick up a needle can call 403-342-8238. The caller will be asked to describe the needle location and will be encouraged to mark it to protect others and help crews locate it. Depending on the time and location, a crew member will be dispatched from Public Works, Emergency Services, Parks, or Red Deer’s Downtown Business Association Clean Team.

Those comfortable and equipped with gloves, tongs or pliers, and a sharps container can safely pick up and dispose of a needle.

Pickup kits are available the City’s Fire Hall Headquarters (4340 32nd St.) and Fire Hall #3 at 100 Lees Street.

Needles can be disposed of outside fire halls #1, 2 and 3; at many pharmacies; at Turning Point; and at brown needle drop boxes located through parks and trails.

“In order to tackle the drug debris issue, the community is working together to balance the safety of persons with addictions and the safety of the general public,” said Veldkamp.

The Public Injection & Debris Committee includes Alberta Health Services, the City of Red Deer, Turning Point Society of Central Alberta, Red Deer Downtown Business Association, Red Deer Primary Care Network, Red Deer Public Schools, Safe Harbour Society and Vantage Community Services.

The guide is available at Red Deer libraries and recreation centres, and a digital version can be found at www.reddeer.ca.

– Fawcett