Louisville Metro installs syringe disposal boxes in city parks

Louisville Metro installs syringe disposal boxes in city parks
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 3:46 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As part of an expansion for the city’s harm reduction efforts, three Louisville Metro Parks have installed syringe disposal boxes for safe disposal of needles.

City officials said on Monday the boxes were installed to help prevent spread of bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV.

The boxes were placed in Portland, Shelby and Boone Square parks, which were identified by Louisville Metro Parks as locations where its staff routinely find syringes.

“Louisville Parks and Recreation is thankful to our partners at Public Health and Wellness for providing a valuable public service with the installation of syringe disposal boxes within three of our parks,” Parks Director Margaret Brosko said in a release. “This service ensures our parks are safer for the entire community, including our maintenance staff, who work in the parks daily.”

On the boxes, guests can also find contact information for the Harm Reduction Outreach Services Program within the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness.

Two syringe disposal boxes are currently standing at Health and Wellness’ headquarters at 400 East Gray Street and outside the Salvation Army at the intersection of South Brook and East Breckinridge Street.

Park guests who happen to find a used syringe should take the following steps to safely discard it:

  • Do not touch the metal part of the needle.
  • If possible, use heavy-duty gloves, tongs or a tissue to grab the syringe by the middle section.
  • Keep the needle pointing down and away.
  • Place the syringe sharp side facing down into a syringe disposal box or heavy plastic container.
  • If placed in a container, bring the container to a Harm Reduction Outreach Services site or outdoor disposal box.

“We know these syringe disposal boxes work, we’ve successfully two other boxes across the city,” said Community Health Administrator Ben Goldman.

Families, children, and people walking their dogs at these parks are hoping they work.

One family who lives across the street from Shelby Park told me they’re always coming across needles. They’re teaching their children to recognize and stay away from them.

“I’ve listened to my constituents be concerned as they bring their children to play on these neighborhood parks and been exposed to the dangers of hypodermic needles,” Metro Council member Donna Purvis.

Purvis says she doesn’t want people to see this as promoting drug use. She says it promotes safety.

“These boxes in three of these parks will actually reduce the amount of syringe encounters that take place by our staff and by patrons,” said Brosko.