United Kingdom: Dumped Needles Pose Health Threat
April 19, 2002
Last year in the United Kingdom, 214 people, including 17 children, were injured by discarded needles, according to a report from the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. The organization said that more than 20,000 used needles were found in public places including parks, public toilets, churchyards, abandoned cars and on beaches. The needles were mostly used by intravenous drug users and carry the risk of infection from illnesses like HIV and hepatitis.Adapted from:
Nearly 90 percent of the 239 local councils responding to the survey had received reports of needles found in the area during the last three years. Two-thirds of coastal councils had found needles on their beaches.
The organization also reported an increase in staff trained and equipped to handle needle disposal. Some councils have also begun working with needle exchange groups. But Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Alan Woods called on councils to do more to tackle the problem. "Discarded needles can carry blood borne infections such as hepatitis B and C and HIV, and while the chances of contracting the fully blown disease is low, we cannot sit around and wait for the worst to happen," Woods said.
"For a start, the public needs to be better informed, and it was disappointing to find so few councils displaying information on their websites as to what to do when you find a needle.
"We have to face it, drugs litter is present on the streets of every community, from the small market town to the large city, and we must get a grip on it quickly before it claims its first fatality," Woods told BBC Radio 4's "Today" program.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.