Nonprofit Helps Dispose Needles

EUGENE, Ore. — A local nonprofit is stepping up to help a family that reached out to KEZI 9 News.

The Burchell family talked Wednesday about how they keep finding used drug needles around their neighborhood.

The HIV Alliance wanted to reach out to them and anyone else who may have found a used needle in their neighborhood to let them know that there are proper ways to handle those needles and proper ways to dispose of them.

Tom Burchell told KEZI 9 News Wednesday that he was very concerned about a used needle he found in his front yard. His biggest concern was the safety of his children, but he also wanted to make sure he disposed of it correctly.

Patty Hansen with HIV Alliance says his concern was valid.

“Any needle that’s been used by another human being can have a blood-born pathogen on it, which could be like Hepetitis B, HIV, Hepitits C,” Hansen said.

Experts say that’s why it is very important if you encounter a used needle to assume it’s contaminated and handle it carefully.

“The main thing is you don’t want to touch it with your hands. If you absolutely have to pick it up with your hands, you should use gloves and make sure you grab it from the end where the needle isn’t,” Hansen said.

Hansen says the best option, though, is to pick the needle up with tongs, put it in a sturdy container, and bring it to one of the alliance’s drop box locations listed on the group’s website.

Since KEZI 9 News spoke with the Burchell family on Wednesday, the sheriff’s office says they’re working to get in touch with the family to address the bigger issue of drugs in their neighborhood.

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