More and more communities across the country are encountering a commonly overlooked public health and safety issue: improper needle and sharps disposal.
“Sharps” is a medical term for devices with sharps points or edges that can puncture or cut skin. Examples of sharps are needles, syringes, lancets, auto injectors, epinephrine and insulin pens, infusion sets, and connection needles/sets.
The group of people who are put in the most danger by improper sharps disposal are environmental service workers – janitors, housekeepers, waste and recycling workers and sewage treatment workers. When a needle is tossed directly into the trash, it has the potential to stick whoever removes that trash. So the janitor may get stuck, the garbage-man may get stuck, and the waste-worker at the waste facility could get stuck. It is also possible for an animal to get to the needle or for it to tear through a trash bag. Any of these scenarios may ultimately expose the needle to neighbors and children. Such injuries cost thousands of dollars in medical testing and cause great stress on victims.
Sharps that are placed in the recycling can also
NeedyMeds is pleased to announce our latest partnership with SafeNeedleDisposal.org! In honor of this new partnership we are spotlighting this week’s blog post on the safe disposal of needles.
Needle disposal is a public health and safety issue that is commonly overlooked. The problem is that there are limited options for safe disposal of needles which leads to dangerous situations for the public – including injury and the spread of infectious disease. Additionally, information about safely disposing of syringes and needles is difficult to come by and often misunderstood. Each year “approximately 9 million syringe users will administer at least 3 billion injections outside health care facilities.” Many of these users are unaware of how to properly dispose of their needles, and “simply throw their used needles in the trash or flush them down the toilet, posing a risk of injury or potential infection from diseases such as Hepatitis B or C and HIV to anyone who encounters them.”
But Who is Really at Risk?
The group of people who are put in the
Poisoning is the number one cause of injury-related death in the U.S.. National Poison Prevention Week, sponsored by the National Poisoning Prevention Council during the third week in March, promotes poison prevention tips and the free emergency services provided by poison control centers, including the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Text POISON to 797979 to save the number in your smartphone.
In the time it takes to read the information above, at least two people will call a poison control center. That’s one person every 14 seconds, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS).
America’s poison control centers managed over 2.6 million encounters in 2017, of which 2.1 million were human exposure cases. And while human exposure calls to poison control showed a 2% decline from 2016, health care facility (HCF) human exposure cases increased by over 3% in this same period, representing almost a quarter of all human exposure calls. Calls with more serious medical outcomes have increased by nearly 4.5% every year since 2000.
Since our last update on the costs associated with COVID-19 in September the number of cases in the United States has quadrupled, the number of dead has more than doubled, and a new president has been inaugurated and taken control of the national response to the coronavirus. Four months ago, there hadn’t yet been an election or any approved vaccines. The nation reported more than 6.1 million new infections and over 74,140 deaths in December alone.
Over 1000-4000 Americans have died from COVID-19 every day since November. President Trump refused to meaningfully address the ongoing pandemic in their final weeks in office, even going so far as to needlessly delay signing relief legislation — jeopardizing benefits for millions of Americans in need. Following two vaccines being approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December, the Trump administration lagged far behind its target of 20 million Americans inoculated by the end of 2020 and left no plan for how to distribute the vaccine for the incoming administration.
The anniversary of the first confirmed diagnosis
For over 20 years NeedyMeds’ mission has been to educate and empower those seeking affordable healthcare. Starting in 2009, the NeedyMeds Drug Discount Card has been helping patients afford their medications. To date, we have saved patients over $295 million on their prescription prices. The free NeedyMeds Drug Discount Card can be used anywhere in the United States at over 65,000 participating pharmacies including all of the major chains to save up to 80% on the cash price of your prescriptions. There are no income, age, or immigration status restrictions. There is no activation or registration needed and no personal information is ever shared when using our card.
The only rule is you can’t use the NeedyMeds Drug Discount Card with insurance or any state or federal program. If you’re uninsured, you can use it any time you are purchasing a prescription. If you have health insurance, the card can fill in the gaps in your coverage. If you have any medications not covered