- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

So this is how easily it can happen.
Last night a customer walked up to the counter at a local coffee shop and laid a small paper bag on it, containing – according to the customer – a used syringe and a balloon. The customer had found it at a table, as if it had fallen out of someone's pocket.
The teen-aged manager was at a loss. This was a new situation for them.
A fifteen-year old employee said she would take it home – her parents would know what to do. She did, at the end of her shift – in two more layers of bag – and her parents called the police who came and retrieved it.
We don't know who left the syringe. We don't know what was in it.
We do know that at least three people in our community were put at risk last night.
In researching a previous article about sharps disposal for last fall, I found it was difficult to get a clear answer about who would or should deal with the discovery of a used syringe. Public Health gave us a ten-step procedure that involved barbecue tongs and a "puncture-resistant, sealable container".
The syringe last night was carried home by a teenager in a paper bag inside a zip-lock.
Where is the public education around this issue? Where is the training?
The Owen Sound Police have said that fentanyl is their "single-biggest concern" and we read that 20 mcg of the more lethal carfentanil – less than a grain of sugar – can kill.
The City is proposing a single sharps disposal container be placed in the Farmers' Market washroom, and these containers are in some of the hospital washrooms and a few private businesses, but how does a non-user get this information to keep themselves safe? will stay on top of this issue, with information from our public safety organizations.

More on safe handling of sharps here.





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