Business owners who phone the two Kamloops street nurses about finding used needles are being given the same advise as everyone else: get gloves and tongs and put the needles in a puncture-proof container, then toss it into the garbage.
Street nurse Gaudenza (they don’t use last names) told the City’s co-ordinated enforcement task force Monday that some business owners are asking about sharps containers.
But those containers have a biohazard stamp on them and can’t be put into the regular garbage.
Something punctureproof, such as a milk jug with a lid, is safe and can go into the trash, even with used needles.
Overall, she believes intravenous drug users are becoming more responsible and using containers themselves to dispose of their needles instead of leaving them on the streets or sidewalks.
She said the street nurses are sometimes accused of promoting drug use because they provide clean drug paraphernalia to addicts.
Users are going to use, no matter what, she said.
“We are trying to prevent the spread of disease.”
If someone is pricked by a used needle, he or she should try to get some blood out of the spot, wash it with soap and water and go to the hospital. The chances of contracting a blood-borne disease vary; HIV is extremely low because it doesn’t live long outside of the body, while hepatitis can be between 10 and 30 per cent.