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What should you do if you find a syringe/needle?

You can choose to safely dispose of the needle yourself by using the steps for safe handling and disposal listed below. Or, if you live in Clay County, you can call our Needle Clean-up Program for help. 


1. If you are comfortable and willing to pick up the needle:

    • You will need:

      1. Gloves or anything that would serve as a barrier between your skin and the needle

      2. A hard plastic sharps container (ex. laundry detergent bottle, coffee cans, bleach bottles)

      3. Heavy duty tape (ex. Duct tape)

Step 1: Put on the gloves and place the sharps container on the ground beside the needle.

Step 2: Pick the needle up from the middle of the barrel with the tip pointed away from you. Do not attempt to recap the needle.

Step 3: Put the needle in the container sharp-end first.

Step 4: Close the container and seal with heavy duty tape.

Step 5: Throw the container in the garbage or bring to health department for disposal.

Step 6: Remove gloves carefully and wash hands or use hand sanitizer after handling as soon as possible.

Step 7:  Call the Clay County Health Department at (606) 598-2425 to report the discarded needle if you reside in Clay County.



2. If you are not comfortable or willing to pick up the needle, or if there are a large number of syringes:

  • The Needle Clean-up Program can retrieve discarded needles in Clay County. Call the Clay County Health Department at (606) 598-2425 to arrange for needle pick-up and disposal. You may call Monday to Thursday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Friday between 8:00 am to 11:30 am.


  • To arrange for clean-up, you will be asked to provide:

           i. Address and/or description of where needle is located      

           ii. The number of needlesiii.

           iii. (Optional) Your name and phone number 

  • A health department staff member will arrive by the end of the business day to pick up the syringe(s).

More information about safe handling and disposal of needles:

FDA – “Be Smart with Sharps” pamphlet

Household Disposal of Sharps in Kentucky