LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness has installed three syringe disposal boxes in three parks in an effort to help prevent the spread of bloodborne illnesses, like HIV and hepatitis C.
The disposal boxes can be found in Portland, Shelby and Boone Square parks. Once a syringe is placed inside the box, it can't be accessed by anyone other than the authorized waste disposal team.
"Harm reduction is about meeting people where they are and providing resources that help keep people healthy and safe," Ben Goldman, community health administrator at LMPHW, said.
He says, like syringe services programs, community syringe disposal programs are "an evidence-based intervention" that reduce the risk of bloodborne illness and do not contribute to an increase in illegal drug use or crime.
What to do if you find a used syringe
- Do not touch the metal part of the needle (the sharp end).
- If possible, use heavy-duty gloves, tongs or a tissue to grab the syringe by the middle section.
- Keep the needle pointed down and away from you.
- Place the syringe, sharp side facing down, into a syringe disposal box or heavy plastic container.
- Bring the container to a Harm Reduction Outreach Services site or an outdoor disposal box.
Metro Parks identified the three parks as location for the boxes to be installed as those are locations where its staff routinely finds syringes.
"This service ensures our parks are safer for the entire community, including our maintenance staff, who work in the parks daily," Parks Director Margaret Brosko said.
Additionally, the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association called for a disposal box in Shelby Park and Metro Councilwoman Donna Purvis (D-5) requested boxes for Portland and Boone Square parks.
Two syringe disposal boxes are currently located at LMPHW's headquarters at 400 E. Gray St. and outside the Salvation Army, located along S. Brook and E. Breckinridge St.
It's estimated anywhere from 3,000-10,000 syringes are disposed at LMPHW's headquarters every year, according to officials.