Submitted by the Bedford Board of Health
A Massachusetts regulation prohibiting the disposal of medical sharps in household trash went into effect on July 1, 2012.
The Bedford Police Department and the Bedford Board of Health are pleased to announce a better and safer way for Bedford Residents to dispose of household medical sharps (needles, syringes and lancets) and unwanted prescription medications. The departments are providing two kiosks: one for household medical sharps and the other one for unwanted medications. Available 24 hours a day, both kiosks are located in the entrance vestibule of the Bedford Police Department at 2 Mudge Way.
All household medical sharps must be collected in a sharps container that can then be placed in the Medical Sharps Kiosk. Sharps containers must be puncture resistant and non-see through containers. Empty containers such as laundry detergent or bleach bottles can be used or specific medical sharps containers that can be purchased at local pharmacies. A limited number of free quart-sized sharps containers are available at a first-come, first-served basis at the Board of Health office. Glass containers, coffee cans, cardboard boxes, and paper or plastic bags are not appropriate sharps storage containers and will not be permitted for disposal in the kiosk. Needles are not allowed to be loose or left outside of the kiosk.
As of July 1, 2012, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Public Health Council have set forth new regulations on disposal of medical wastes. These regulations ban the disposal of household medical sharps in regular trash. Safe disposal of sharps protects recycling and trash collection workers as well as family members of sharps users. People who are exposed to spent loose needles are at risk of painful injury or contracting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B.
Bedford is also the recipient of a National MedReturn Drug Collection Kiosk to collect expired and unwanted medications.
The Drug Collection kiosk accepts prescription and over-the counter medications; prescription patches, ointments and samples; vitamins; and, medications for pets. Items that are not acceptable for disposal in either kiosk include: non-prescription ointments, lotions and liquids; hydrogen peroxide; aerosol cans; inhalers; and, thermometers. Sharps and needles need to be separated from medication and disposed in the Medical Sharps Kiosk.
In the United States, there is an increasing problem of prescription drug abuse, where drugs are commonly obtained from family and friends. Improperly disposing of these drugs puts the community at risk for abuse and misuse. Flushing them down the toilet or simply throwing them away can be a potential safety and health hazard and detrimentally impact the water supply, wildlife and the community. The newly added Drug Collection Kiosk will provide residents of Bedford the opportunity to properly discard prescription medications. Medications can be dropped off loosely in bags or in bottles.
A message from Bedford’s Board of Health and the Police Department
The Bedford Board of Health and the Bedford Police Department welcome residents to use the kiosks at the Police Department to properly dispose of sharps and unwanted medications. Taking the initiative to do so will help to protect and promote public health and safety in our community.
Please contact the Board of Health at 781-275-6507 with any questions.