found a needle?

To find a loca­tion where you can return used nee­dles, use the find sup­ply map and select nee­dle drop off”

What to do when you find a needle?

When virus­es in nee­dles are exposed to the air, the virus­es usu­al­ly die quick­ly. There is no way to know how long a nee­dle has been lying where you found it, so even though you are very unlike­ly to be infect­ed by pok­ing your­self, it is best to be safe.

In most cas­es, you can safe­ly dis­pose of a nee­dle yourself:

  1. Find a stur­dy con­tain­er with a lid, like a bleach bot­tle or a plas­tic pop bot­tle. Do not use glass jars because they can break, or thin plas­tic con­tain­ers that a nee­dle could pierce. Or, if you need a plas­tic con­tain­er, you can get one by call­ing Street Con­nec­tions. Set the con­tain­er on a sta­ble surface.
  2. Put on thick gloves that are not eas­i­ly pierced.
  3. Use a pair of tongs, pli­ers, or tweez­ers to pick up the nee­dle. Do not try to put the cap back on.
  4. Pick up the nee­dle and point the tip away from you. Put it in the con­tain­er and tape the lid tight­ly closed (duct tape if pos­si­ble) for extra security.
  5. Put the con­tain­er in the reg­u­lar garbage or a city dump­ster, not into recycling.
  6. If you have a small num­ber of nee­dles, you can bring them to nee­dle drop box­es locat­ed around Win­nipeg. If you have a larg­er num­ber, you can bring your con­tain­er to cer­tain com­mu­ni­ty agen­cies. Look for loca­tions offer­ing Nee­dle drop-off’ on our inter­ac­tive map for these locations.

When should I call for help?

  • If you are not able to safe­ly pick up a needle.
  • If you see many nee­dles in a pile, for exam­ple, in a stair­well or behind a dumpster.
  • If you see bro­ken nee­dles scat­tered on the ground.

If you need help pick­ing up a needle:

  • On pub­lic prop­er­ty, call 311.
  • On pri­vate prop­er­ty, call Street Con­nec­tions at 2049810742.

What if a nee­dle pokes me?

The risk of seri­ous infec­tion from a dis­card­ed nee­dle is very low, but it is impor­tant to take care of this kind of injury.

  1. Allow the punc­ture site to bleed. This helps flush any germs away.
  2. Wash the area well with soap and water.
  3. Go to any emer­gency room as soon as pos­si­ble. You will be assessed for health risks from this nee­dle poke.

Here is what might happen:

  • You may be giv­en a vac­cine against hepati­tis B and/​or tetanus.
  • Blood test­ing might be offered to make sure you did not have hepati­tis B or C, or HIV before being poked.
  • You may need fol­low-up blood tests to make sure that you did not get infected.
  • In very few cas­es, you might be giv­en med­ica­tion to help pre­vent becom­ing infect­ed by HIV. This is rarely necessary.