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Jan 01

December 2017

Posted on January 1, 2018 at 5:52 PM by Craig Johnson

Last month I talked about opioids, their abuse, and the proactive approach we are taking to combat it.  This month I would like go a step further to remind folks about our Drug Drop Box located in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office. 

About a year ago, we were given a Drug Drop Box from the Iowa Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy in relation to a program called Iowa Take Back.  The Drop Box is a mailbox set up at our office, which provides a secure and confidential community option for disposing of unneeded medicines.  The Iowa Take Back program is designed primarily to collect controlled prescription drugs or those medicines classified as having a higher potential for abuse because they pose a greater threat to the health and safety of Iowans.  We do take all prescription medications.  However, we do not take needles.

We do have a sharps container here for inmates, some of those recently became full, and I had a similar question, what do we do with the needles?  We were able to contact a local hospital that took them but after looking into it, there are some other options.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, each year 8 million people across the country use more than 3 billion needles.  Sharps must be properly managed to prevent injury by unintentional sticks or disease transmission.  People at the greatest risk of being stuck by used sharps include sanitation and sewage treatment workers, janitors, housekeepers, and children.

In Iowa, it is currently legal to place used sharps in a lidded, rigid container, into the garbage; however, this method is highly discouraged due to the health risk posed to the public.  If no other disposal option is available, place used sharps in a red sharps container or in a lidded, rigid container such as a bleach bottle or detergent bottle and follow these instructions;

Label the empty detergent container “Do Not Recycle:  “Household Sharps”

Put needles in point-first into the container

Dispose of container when it is half-full of sharps

Keep container capped and you may even tape it shut to prevent spills

I would recommend if you have sharps, you should first contact your solid waste agency to find out what is recommended.  There are also mail-back programs that allow you to mail your used sharps to a licensed disposal facility.  For a list of providers, visit the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal at 

And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me at, or stop by to see me.

Thanks and be safe,

Sheriff Mike Tschirgi