Discarded needles and syringes - advice to the public
When needles and syringes are left in public places this can often lead to fear and anxiety about the risk of transmission of infection. In reality the risk to health is extremely low because any injures are usually superficial and the blood in the syringe may no longer be infectious. There are no reported cases of HIV infection through contact with a needle or syringe discarded in a public place.
However one discarded needle is one too many and we strive to ensure that the public are not placed at any risk.
If you do find any discarded needles and syringes in a public place, by contacting our drug litter report line, we will ensure that the details are passed onto the Local Authority who have staff trained on how to remove and dispose of such equipment using appropriate safety equipment.
How to report discarded needles/syringes
In North Wales we have a dedicated freephone number for the public to report any discarded needles and syringes they may find in their community.
You will need to tell us the exact location and the amount of equipment so that we can respond as soon as possible.
You can do this by:
- Filling out the form below
- Phoning Freephone 0808 808 2276 where you can speak to one of our staff
If you find a discarded needle or syringe:
- Put yourself or others at risk
- Hide it
- Separate the needle from the syringe
- Put the cap back on the needle
- Play with the needle or syringe
- Put it in a dustbin or litter bin, down a drain or toilet
If you feel there is immediate danger to children or other people and you are confident to do something yourself immediately then follow the advice below. Never put yourself at risk.
- Find a suitable container to put it in eg, a plastic bottle, jar, tin, etc
- Always take the container to the needle/syringe
- Handle it carefully (ideally wearing plastic/gardening gloves) and do not touch the sharp end of the needle You can use a long handled gripper if you have one
- Pick the syringe up by the barrel end only and never touch the sharp end
- Put the needle (sharp end) into the container first
- Screw the lid/top onto the container
- Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards
- Take it to your local Pharmacy where you see this logo for it to be safely disposed of
What to do in the event of a needlestick injury:
- Don't panic
- Do not suck the injury
- Squeeze the wound and encourage it to bleed freely
- Wash and gently flush out the wound with running water and soap if available
- Cover with a waterproof plaster
- Visit your GP for medical advice and any appropriate treatment