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Each year, thousands of people across Indiana use needles, syringes, and lancets—also called sharps—for home injections of medications. Sharps disposal by home self-injectors is not regulated in Indiana, and self-injectors do not always know the safest disposal methods. This situation can lead to haphazard disposal habits and increased community exposure to sharps. Sanitation and sewage treatment workers, janitors and housekeepers, and children are at the greatest risk of being stuck by used sharps.
People exposed to sharps face not only the risk of a painful stick, but also the risk of contracting a life-altering disease such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B or C. All needle-stick injuries are treated as if the needle were infected with a disease. Victims of sharps-related injuries face the cost of post-injury testing, disease prevention measures, and counseling, even if no infection or disease was spread.
Due to the hazards that unsafe disposal practices present, many solid waste management districts, health departments, pharmacies, and community municipal departments are choosing to offer safe disposal options to sharps users.