MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live) A concerned citizen reached out to Valley News Live Friday alerting us that she found hundreds of needles and syringes in a garbage can near a Moorhead park.
Debroah Holbrook was walking her dog late Thursday night through her south Moorhead neighborhood when she spotted them.
“I thought it would be safest for me to take them,” Holbrook said
Holbrook got inside the trash can and removed the needles by hand, and she said she was careful not to get poked.
“I was being very careful, very careful, picking them up one at a time,” Holbrook said.
Holbrook believes most of the needles were being used for drugs. She called police, yet she was told to place them back in the garbage because there was nothing officers could do.
She refused due to the fact that Romkey Park is nearby, which attracts children to the area. An athletic field for Minnesota State University in Moorhead is also a few blocks away.
“There are a lot of used ones, the needles are bent in,” Holbrook said. “I put them in this bucket and wrote all this stuff on it, danger, syringes, [and] don't touch, so nobody would touch it.”
Although her action was well-intended, Robyn Litke Sall of Fargo Cass Public Health said you should never pick up a syringe or needle with your bare hands.
“What they could do is, very carefully, they could put on a pair of gloves and we would recommend a really thick pair of gloves,” Sall, who’s the substance abuse prevention coordinator, said.
And even then, Sall said tongs should be used along with the gloves to grab needles and syringes.
“You have to treat as it could be contaminated,” Sall said.
If you avoid getting poked by a needle, Sall said you're still not in the clear. There's a possibility you can contract Hepatitis C by touching one.
Syringes and needles should never be placed in the trash. Most hospitals and doctors provide free sharps containers in order to safely toss them out.
Fargo Cass Public Health also has a needle drop-off location at the Harm Reduction Center located at 510 5th St N. in downtown Fargo.