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Drug Use in Philadelphia: A look into the ways in which the government is handling this issue.

      Recently, the Philadelphia Public Health Department installed seven safe needle disposal bins in the Kensington neighborhood. These boxes are called Sharps deposit boxes and function to keep needles off the streets to prevent harm to other people. Besides needles, there are other items that can be placed in these boxes including syringes, scalpels, slides, cover slips, pipettes and blood tubes.

      These boxes contain anything that can be harmful if exposed to other people, as well as items that are sharp or can become sharp if they are broken. In Kensington, the boxes are specifically designed to help stop the opioid drug dangers that have been going on within the neighborhood. These bins are placed at SEPTA stops and public parks throughout the neighborhood in hopes that people will dispose of their needles in safer ways, instead of leaving them on the streets. Each box is similar to a mailbox on the street in both size and shape, and the boxes are installed on city property.

      To keep track of the boxes, Philadelphia has partnered with Advant-Edge in New Jersey, which is a biohazard disposal company. Advant-Edge had already been picking up medical waste from health clinics in the city. They will monitor the bins to be sure to collect and replace the bins in a timely fashion. Each bin holds about 1,500 syringes. It has usually taken up to eleven days in other cities for the bins to fill up. Each bin costs $235 to install and $200 to replace after they are filled up. Although this may seem expensive, the city believes it will help the community for the better.

      Without safe disposal of these items, the risk of contracting infections and diseases can increase. Individuals are not subject to the laws of safe disposal like medical facilities are. The hope is that people can easily access these bins, which will make a safer and cleaner living space for the people in the city.

      Sources: PlanPhilly, Choice MedWaste

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