JAMESTOWN – An uptick in used syringes littered in Jamestown’s public spaces is prompting local leaders to find better ways to dispose of medical waste.
The issue was discussed during a presentation at the city council work session on Monday night.
Mayor Eddie Sundquist is now eying a state grant program that provides free syringe kiosks as a possible solution.
It appears, the Mayor says, residents are already disposing of needles properly in some situations, after a red sharps box, placed by an unknown person, popped up at a local parking garage.
“People were actually taking any syringes that they had and were putting them in the boxes. So we stopped seeing them kind of thrown in the ramp and (it) actually changed the behavior,” said Sundquist.
The increase in used syringes littered in public spaces is not just a Jamestown problem, but countywide issue too according to Kerri Huels with the HOPE Chautauqua Coalition.
“If they have the option to dispose of it property, I believe that they will do so and I just think that the simple little container being left in the parking garage kind of proves that theory,” said Huels.
Huels looked into where needles can be disposed of in Chautauqua County, and found that the options were limited, or the in-person nature of some of the drop off locations might be a deterrent for those using illegal substances.
“It makes it difficult for somebody who does want to do the right thing even if they are using illicit substances. Where would they go? They’re not just gonna walk in and talk to the security desk and hand them a bottle of used syringes,” said Huels.
The purpose of the kiosks, she says, is to make this process easier for people trying to dispose of used syringes. Because the program is 100 percent grant funded, there is no cost for the first year.
The City has no limit as to how many kiosks they could obtain. Local leaders are expected to work with Huels to determine where in the city they would be placed.