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Ten thousand reasons to keep Seattle’s needle collection going

A needle stuck in a pipe along a curb in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood. (MyNorthwest)

The City of Seattle has collected more than 10,000 syringes, needles, and lancets through its “sharps” collection pilot project since February.

RELATED: 3 takeaways from Public Health’s safe injection presentation

A public utilities representative told the Seattle City Council this week that more than 10,500 “sharps” were collected in drop boxes located in city parks, a few intersections, as well as transfer stations over the last several months. “Sharps” refer to syringes, needles, and lancets.

An additional 3,906 “sharps” were collected from the on-call pilot, which allows people to report hazardous material to the city that then sends out an employee to remove it. The reported material is removed within 24 hours almost “100 percent” of the time.

“We are going to continue to run that pilot and see no reason to stop it,” a Seattle Public Utilities representative said.

Click here for a map of the drop-off locations.

The news that thousands of potentially dangerous items are being dropped off at just a few locations comes as the city and King County debate over where to place safe injection sites for a population dealing with an opioid epidemic. Someone dies from an opiate overdose about every 36 hours in King County, according to a former co-chair of the county’s Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force.

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