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Two syringe disposal kiosks have been installed in Eureka, and a third is on its way. The kiosks, purchased by the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), are intended to provide a safe and convenient location to dispose of used syringes.
The kiosks are located at the main Public Health and Social Services buildings A third one is scheduled to be installed at the main Mental Health location soon.
“The kiosks were purchased in response to community members and partner organizations expressing concern about syringe litter, and asking for a place to dispose of used needles,” said Dana Murguia, a senior program manager with DHHS’s Healthy Communities Division.
The disposal bins are part of the department’s Syringe Services Program (SSP), which provides needle exchange, information about overdose prevention, referrals to treatment programs and other services.
“Syringe exchange is an important component of an SSP,” said Michele Stephens, DHHS Public Health director. “It helps reduce the incidence of new HIV and viral hepatitis infections by decreasing the number of people sharing syringes and other injection equipment.”
DHHS Director Connie Beck said, “Needle exchange is a proven harm reduction strategy which increases entry into treatment and reduces overdose deaths. What we want to do now is make sure we’re reducing the risk of harm to all county residents.”
Beck added, “The volume of needle litter in Eureka is unacceptable. DHHS has been working with its partners to reduce it, and is committed to continuing to do so.” She added that conversations about reducing needle litter are taking place in other communities.
The new kiosks are located at 529 I St. and 929 Koster St. Small sharps containers are available at each location’s front desk during normal business hours.
Humboldt Waste Management Authority also accepts sharps in appropriate containers and will dispose of them free of charge. For a list of drop-off locations, visit www.hwma.net/disposal-services/medical-sharps.
People who find needles within Eureka city limits that they are unable to collect or dispose of can report them to Eureka Police Department’s non-emergency phone number at 707-441-4044.
For more information, contact Public Health at 707-445-6200.
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