Syringe & Medication Disposal
Denver Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) recently completed the installation of four sharps disposal kiosks to address the issue of discarded syringes in public spaces.
They are ready for use and are located at:
- Fire Station 4 at 19th and Lawrence
- Governor’s Park at 7th and Logan (currently unavailable)
- Lincoln Park at 13th and Osage
- McIntosh Park outside of the Webb Building (currently unavailable)
The kiosks are part of our harm reduction effort outlined in Denver’s first-ever Opioid Response Strategic Plan(PDF, 2MB) (PDF). Providing secure, contained, and accessible disposal sites for sharps is a sensible step toward eliminating discarded syringes in our parks, in the public right-of-way, and in other public spaces. Having kiosks in four accessible and well-lit locations will provide more opportunities for sharps disposal.
We want to encourage all community members to feel free to utilize the kiosks for their syringe disposal needs. The kiosks can accept small containers with sharps inside, like from a neighborhood or park clean up. We have heard from many neighborhood groups that they would like to know where they can safely dispose of sharps collected at neighborhood clean-up events – this is becoming a common volunteer activity around town, and it increases in popularity in the summer months. We encourage those who use syringes for medical conditions such as hormone injection, diabetes or MS, or who provide medication to pets to use the kiosks for their syringe disposal.
The kiosks will be maintained and emptied by a professional contractor with oversight from Denver Public Health & Environment.
What Are Sharps?
“Sharps” includes needles, syringes, lancets, and auto-injectors, all of which can be discarded in a sharps disposal kiosk. Used needles and other sharps are dangerous to people and pets if not disposed of safely because they can cause injury and spread infections that may result in serious health conditions. The most common infections are Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV), and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
How to use a sharps kiosk
When discarding sharps, never place loose needles and other sharps (those that are not placed in separate sharps disposal containers) in a household or public trash cans or recycling bins, and never flush them down the toilet. Doing so puts sanitation workers at risk during collection rounds, at sorting and recycling facilities, and at landfills. Syringes can also become lodged in equipment, forcing workers to remove them by hand. Children, adults, and even pets are also at risk for needle-stick injuries when sharps are improperly discarded at home or in public settings.
The large chute on the kiosk ensures all needles, syringes, and containers can be deposited without the ability to be retrieved.
Household use/community clean-ups
Multiple used sharps should be stored in a sharps disposal container, and the container can be placed in the syringe disposal kiosk. This works well for those who have syringes at home and/or for those doing community clean-ups. Multiple syringes can be placed inside a sharps disposal container, and the entire container can be placed inside the kiosk for disposal.
Single syringes can be placed directly into the kiosks.
We ask that only sharps are placed in the syringe disposal kiosks.
Please note: Pet owners who use needles to give medicine to their pets should follow the same sharps disposal guidelines used for humans.