The opioid epidemic is impacting more than the individuals and families struggling with addiction. Whether it’s needles found in yards, property crime or chronic nuisance properties, the issue affects us all.
If you witness a crime in progress, please call 911. If it has already occurred, contact your local police department to file a report.
Depending on the situation, public health, law enforcement, code enforcement and/or social services can be involved. If there is a property near you that you are concerned about, contact your local police department for what steps to take. You can also visit the Snohomish Health District’s website to learn more about filing a garbage and waste complaint.
Used needles left in public and private places are both a nuisance and potential safety concern. Whether they’re used to inject medicines like insulin or for illegal drugs, used needles can spread diseases like Hepatitis C through accidental needle pokes. While the risk of contracting a disease from a needle-stick injury is very low, you can further reduce that risk by using the right equipment and procedures. It is also important to teach children to never pick up needles found on the ground and to report them to a trusted adult.
If you are cleaning up used needles, please make sure to have proper equipment to keep you safe. We recommend a sharps container, puncture-resistant gloves, tongs or a grabber, safety glasses and hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not easily accessible). For your convenience, free needle clean-up kits are currently available at the Snohomish Health District located at 3020 Rucker Avenue, Suite 104 in Everett during normal business hours.
The City of Everett and the Snohomish Health District have developed a short video on how to safely collect and dispose of used needles.
Before you begin collecting, make sure you are wearing puncture-resistant gloves, protective eyewear and closed-toe shoes. Never touch a needle with bare hands. Designate one person as a needle collector; others can scout and point out needles.
1. Take your kit TO the needle, open the sharps container
2. Do not touch the syringe with your hands; use pliers, a grabber or tongs
3. Pick up syringe by the barrel or plunger, needle pointing away from you
4. Do not recap, break, bend or remove needle from syringe
5. Place syringe needle-first into container and seal container tightly
6. Never overfill your container and once full, seal the container
7. Be sure to wash hands or use hand sanitizer after you finish collecting
8. Dispose of the sharps container properly
As a reminder, it is unlawful to dispose of needles in solid waste containers in Snohomish County. In addition to free clean-up kits, approved sharps containers can also be returned to the Snohomish Health District at 3020 Rucker Ave, Ste 104 in Everett during normal business hours. Please note that milk jugs, soda bottles and tin cans are not accepted sharps containers.
If you are not comfortable with handling the needle yourself or if it is in an unsafe or difficult-to-reach location, you may be able to call your local police department’s non-emergency number for an officer to respond as time and call loads allow. If it is on someone else’s property, you may also notify the property owner of the needle location.
This program is intended for residents and business owners cleaning up used needles found in the community, not for businesses that generate used needles. Individuals using insulin shots or other similar uses should dispose of their used needles in sharps containers provided by local pharmacies or clinics.