LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Syringe boxes can now be found in Portland, Shelby and Boone Square parks, the City of Louisville announced on Monday.
Officials said the boxes were installed to prevent the spread of bloodborne diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C in the community.
“Harm reduction is about meeting people where they are and providing resources that help keep people healthy and safe,” said Ben Goldman, community health administrator at Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. “Like syringe services programs, community syringe disposal programs are an evidence-based intervention that reduces the risk of bloodborne illnesses and does not contribute to an increase in illegal drug use or crime.”
The syringe disposal boxes were installed through a partnership with LMPHW, Louisville Parks and Recreation and Metro Facilities. Officials selected the three parks compared to others because that's where they routinely find the syringes. The Shelby Park Neighborhood Association also called for a disposal box in Shelby Park, and Metro Councilwoman Donna Purvis requested boxes for Portland and Boone Square parks.
“The safety of our youngest population is crucial,” said Metro Council President David James, D-6. “This is just another step in the right direction to protect children, families, and all park users from syringes in parks. I’m hopeful the disposal boxes will be used to help further protect the community.”
Other than the three parks, syringe boxes can also be found at LMPHW’s headquarters at 400 E. Gray St. and outside The Salvation Army, located along S. Brook Street and E. Breckinridge Street. Officials said every year, anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 syringes are disposed of at the Gray Street location.
If someone finds a syringe, officials said take the following steps to safely discard it:
- 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 barrel (the middle section)
- Keep the needle pointing down and away from you when holding the syringe
- Place the syringe, with the sharp side facing down, into a syringe disposal box or heavy plastic container like an empty sports drink bottle, laundry detergent or bleach container
- Bring the container to a Harm Reduction Outreach Services site or an outdoor disposal box