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Harlan Police looking for solution to people throwing needles on ground

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - Police call it a potential health and safety hazard that needs to stop. Harlan City Police say more used needles are being put on streets, sidewalks, even playgrounds.

"Just anywhere in general, especially where kids are, we try to go right then and pick those up and dispose of them," said Officer Derrick Noe.

Noe says he frequently sees uses needles discarded, which poses a safety hazard for both him and others in public.

"A lot of the IV drug users have hepatitis and other transmitted diseases that could be transmitted by just the poke of a needle," Noe said.

Officers are picking them up as much as they can, but they want to find a way to keep people from throwing them on the ground.

Harlan police want to create something like the unwanted drug drop-off box but this will be a place specifically to discard needles.

"Instead of just throwing them out randomly, come to the police department and dispose of them properly," said Mike Thomas, Harlan Police Chief.

Once it is setup, Thomas said they will not question those who bring in needles.

"No prosecution. We're not going to judge you. We just want to clean our community and make it a little safer," Thomas said.

The chief says he is working with all of the local funeral homes on the program so they can properly dispose of the needles with the funeral homes' medical waste.

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