Recently, a post appeared on the Seven Lakes North & South Families Facebook page from a concerned resident who found a syringe on their walk. Thankfully, according to a local narcotics detective who has asked to remain anonymous, nothing has come of the claim thus far. Nonetheless, he suggests community members remain vigilant and educate themselves on what to do if they find a needle, suspect crime, or witness suspicious activity.
“Don’t be afraid to give the sheriff’s office a call,” he encouraged. “If something doesn’t seem right, trust your gut. If you can, take a picture. Call 911 or the sheriff’s office. We’re all here to help.”
The detective also suggested contacting law enforcement to remove and properly dispose of any found needles or syringes.
“You don’t know what that needle was or what was in it,” he explained. “If you or a child finds it and gets pricked, you could contract a disease. A child could easily overdose. It doesn’t take much.”
However, if you feel you must dispose of the needle yourself or are in a position where you cannot contact law enforcement, it is strongly recommended to take the necessary steps to prevent potential infection.
First, equip yourself with thick rubber or latex gloves that cannot be punctured. Gardening gloves and winter knit gloves are not recommended as they are easily pierced. Next, pick up the syringe or needle with disposable tongs and carefully place it in a disposable container that cannot be punctured such as a glass bottle, plastic container, or detergent bottle. Finally, take the container to an appropriate disposal site such as a hospital or police department to make sure it is dealt with properly.
Never attempt to handle needles found in a public setting, especially if there is more than one. If you are in a public place and do happen to find a needle, it is best to contact law enforcement straight away. Common places to find needles are behind dumpsters, back alleys, and wooded areas surrounding retail and commercial locations, so it is always best to keep a close eye on children and pets in these areas.
Diseases that can be contracted from infected needles are tetanus, staph infections, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Despite urban legends, there have never been any cases of HIV being contracted from a discarded needle, according to research from the CDC.
“Never put yourself in a dangerous situation,” the detective said. “Don’t be afraid to reach out, and above all else, keep yourself safe.”
To get in touch with the Moore County Sheriff’s Department, call (910) 947-2931. In the case of an emergency, call 911.