weather icon Clear

Proper disposal of ‘sharps,’ medications ensures safety for all

Did you know that Boulder City Hospital cannot accept sharps or medications for disposal? Safe disposal of these items is very important for the safety of the community and the environment.

“Sharps” is a medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin. These include needles, syringes, lancets, auto injectors (including epinephrine pens), infusion sets and connection needle/sets.

Disposing of used sharps safely is different from state to state and in some cases, locality to locality. No matter where you happen to be, all used sharps should be placed in a strong, plastic container. Sharps should never be thrown loosely into the trash or toilet.

Sharps that retract after use, or are very small, should be disposed of like all other sharps. Sharps should never be recycled.

If you are given a strong plastic container with new sharps or purchase one at a pharmacy or online, use it to collect sharps after they are used. You may also place used sharps in your own strong, plastic container like an empty laundry detergent or bleach bottle until the container is three-quarters full. Then, seal the container with duct tape and label, “do not recycle.” Put the plastic container in the household trash.

Currently, there is not a community sharps disposal program in Clark County. Republic Services does have a paid service that offers at-home disposal solutions with their medical sharps and needle mail back kits. Visit http://www.republicsharps.com for more information on this program.

Further information on safe sharps disposal can be found at https://safeneedledisposal.org.

Proper disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medication will protect the environment and ensure medication doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Improperly discarded medications can pollute our water supply and affect fish and wildlife.

The Clark County Water Reclamation District, in conjunction with the Boulder City Police Department, Metropolitan Police Department, city of Mesquite Police Department and North Las Vegas Police Department, created the Medicine Disposal Program. This program provides an opportunity for residents to safely and anonymously dispose of any unused, expired prescriptions or over-the-counter medications. Drop-off boxes are inside local police department substations, providing a secure method for disposal.

Visit the medicine disposal locations map on the Pain in the Drain website, http://www.paininthedrain.com/medicine-disposal-drop-off-locations, for locations near you.

If you are unable to get to one of the drop-off locations, or if you have a small amount of medicine to dispose of, placing outdated or unneeded medications in the garbage is the best way to get rid of them. When throwing away medications, follow these steps:

Step 1: Remove your personal information from the prescription container.

Step 2: Add water and absorbent material, such as cat litter, sawdust, dirt, salt or flour, to bottles of pills before recapping to discourage unintended use.

Step 3: Tape the lid shut.

Step 4: Put the medicine container in another container, such as an empty margarine tub.

Step 5: Double-enclose the container in a bag or other waste container to prevent identification of the drug, or to prevent a glass container from breaking.

Step 6: Place in the trash.

Medications should not be flushed. When you flush medication down your drain, it ends up at a water treatment facility. These ingredients can remain in the treated water when it is released into the water cycle. The presence of these substances in the environment is emerging as an important national and international issue. Although the concentration levels of these products in the environment is very low, research and monitoring are continuing worldwide.

Putting medications down the drain is not just a local concern. Increasingly, prescription and nonprescription medications, many of which are not effectively destroyed by sewage treatment plants, are finding their way into streams and drinking water supplies. A study conducted by the United States Geological Survey found that 80 percent of the 139 streams sampled across 30 states detected very low concentrations of chemicals commonly found in prescription drugs. While the concentration levels of these products are very low, they may be enough to cause adverse effects in the environment and to human health.

To Your Health is provided by the staff of Boulder City Hospital. For more information, call 702-293-4111, ext. 576, or visit bouldercityhospital.org.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Ethics complaint filed against city attorney

The Nevada Commission on Ethics is investigating a complaint against City Attorney Steve Morris for allegedly violating state law at a City Council meeting in October.

City cuts millions from budget

City Council unanimously approved the final budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year that includes several million dollars in cuts to accommodate expected revenue losses due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Hoover Dam marks 85th anniversary of final concrete pour

On Friday, May 29, Hoover Dam celebrates a unique anniversary. It will have been 85 years since the last of the concrete was poured for the project.

Wreath placed to honor veterans

Boulder City Mayor Kiernan McManus joined with Gov. Steve Sisolak to place a wreath honoring veterans during a small, private Memorial Day ceremony Monday, May 25, at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

Phase Two begins Friday

CARSON CITY — More of Nevada’s daily routines will return Friday, May 29, with limits, as Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday, May 26, night the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions, including gatherings for church services and the reopening of more businesses, such as bars and health facilities.

Schools continue food distribution, online learning

Despite the school year being over, local students will still be able to pick up meals throughout the summer and participate in online learning activities.

Business Beat: Coffeehouse, bookstore to open in historic building

Three friends with deep ties to Boulder City have joined forces to create DAM Roast House &Browder Bookstore, a new business that will be housed in the town’s oldest commercial building.

City to take possession of airport hangars

After talking in circles for literally hours, City Council finally decided to let 28 airport hangars revert to city ownership when their current leases expire July 2 and directed staff to create new ones.