Minneapolis installing syringe drop boxes
Containers in public spaces to safely dispose of used syringes
The City of Minneapolis is installing syringe drop boxes in public spaces over the next couple weeks to provide places for anyone to safely dispose of used syringes. The pilot program is intended to result in less syringe litter in public spaces and on the streets of Minneapolis. Syringe litter can become a public health hazard by causing injuries and spreading disease.
Local, woman-owned manufacturer
A local, woman-owned business custom designed and manufactured the syringe drop boxes for the City of Minneapolis with features that aren’t available with boxes currently used in other cities. Features of the Minneapolis boxes include:
- Small holes the size of syringes and other injection supplies.
- A secure box that fits the collection liner better for safe emptying by the authorized vendor.
- A design intended to provide an easily identified and nonthreatening feel for people disposing of syringes and injection supplies.
The installation of the boxes began Nov. 1 and will be completed by Nov. 18. The City is coordinating installation logistics among internal City departments as well as Hennepin County and other partners in the private sector. The 10 drop box locations will be evaluated for effectiveness and can be relocated if collection data recommends it.
A professional biohazard company, Industrial Hygiene Services Corporation, will safely empty the syringe drop boxes weekly and report to the City with data that will include the number of syringes collected and ways the boxes are being used.
New York, Boston and San Francisco are currently using syringe drop boxes and have found that the programs decrease the amount of syringe litter by at least half. The City of Minneapolis studied their programs to incorporate best practices and to customize a program that best meets the needs here.
The opioid response in Minneapolis
Beyond the syringe drop box program, which is meant to improve public safety by decreasing syringe litter, the City is also working on recommendations made by Mayor Jacob Frey’s multijurisdictional task force on opioids to curb the opioid epidemic. The epidemic has seen overdose calls to the Minneapolis Police Department climb from 286 in 2015 to 954 in 2018 – a 233% increase. Between 2000 and 2017 opioid overdose deaths in the state increased by seven times. One-third of the opioid overdoses in the state are in Hennepin County.
Find more information at www.minneapolismn.gov/opioidresponse.
Nov. 4, 2019
Published Nov 4, 2019