Don't stick others with your problem
by Rory Doyle
Sep 21, 2012 | 3027 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Michael Clark, owner of South Street Pharmacy in Cleveland, will house a safe disposal bin for medical sharps through a new free program from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
Michael Clark, owner of South Street Pharmacy in Cleveland, will house a safe disposal bin for medical sharps through a new free program from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
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South Street Pharmacy of Cleveland is taking part in a new medical sharps disposal program instituted by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

Under the plan, known as Mississippi Household Medical Sharps Collection Program, needles, syringes and sharp medical items will be collected at safe stations across the state.

Michael Clark, South Street owner, said he is excited to take part in the program.

"Were doing it because there's definitely a need for it," said Clark. "Anybody can come by and use our location — they don't have to be regulars at our pharmacy.

"We'll be a safe drop-off point to eliminate the possibility of a contaminated stick. "Even if a needle has only been used once, let's say because you have diabetes, now it has materials on it that could contaminate."

The MDEQ provided Clark with an 18-gallon holding bin to temporarily store the individual sharp items received from the public.

There is no cost for those who utilize the service.

The bin is stored in a safe location and picked up by a state-contracted company as it begins to fill.

Those bringing in sharps should make sure they are contained properly before disposal.

Proper containers include sharp containers purchased through pharmacies or medical supply companies, or any hard, rigid plastic consumer container with a screw-top lid.

"We're basically making sure people keep medical waste out of harms way," said Clark. "It's important to consider where a needle came from — did this person have hepatitis or AIDS?"

Each year approximately 90,000 people in Mississippi administer to themselves about 30 million injections for medical problems such as diabetes, allergies, HIV, arthritis and other reasons.

The practice of throwing used needles in the trash or down toilets at home, or in the workplace, poses the risk of needle sticks to families and the general public.

Even when used syringes are recapped, there is still a high possibility that the cap could fall off before the syringe reaches its final destination.

According to the MDEQ, waste management employees in Mississippi have reported scores of needle stick injuries in recent years, and it is believed that many more go unreported.

"There are restrictions on how you can drop off your sharps and even how pharmacies dispose of them," said Clark. "Everyone should be treating them as medical waste."

Those arriving on site with sharps that are loose, in plastic or paper bags, cardboard boxes or in glass or metal containers will not be allowed to use the service.

"It's not a complicated program — put your sharps in the appropriate container and bring them by here," added Clark. "There is definitely a need for this community service, and this is a good solution."

South Street Pharmacy is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m-6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m-1 p.m.