Michigan State Police tells how to properly clean up syringes, other drug materials

NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - Troopers at the Negaunee State Police post say they're experiencing an increase in calls and visits from people that are finding hazardous drug materials around the community, such as items associated with making meth.

"If you see something as far as plastic tubing that is coming out of a pop bottle or a Gatorade bottle, it might have a clear liquid in it, you might want to stay away from it and then get law enforcement involved so we can at least come and check it out," said Trooper Stacey Rasanen of the Michigan State Police.

Other items commonly used to manufacture meth include: Coleman camp fuel, paint thinner, tree spikes, cold compresses, drain cleaner, coffee filters, and red gas cans with tubing coming out of them.

Used syringes are also being found in public places. There are programs in place to help reduce the number of syringes that are improperly disposed, such as the Syringe Service Program through the Marquette County Health Department (MCHD).

The MCHD wants to remind people that they can turn in their used injection supplies for proper disposal using their needle exchange sites at Pathways in Marquette and at the Upper Great Lakes Sawyer Family Health Center in Gwinn.

"Syringe Service Programs in communities they've been implemented in have not been shown to increase drug use or increase crime. In fact, they often decrease the amount of syringes in community spaces because there's that option for responsible disposal within that program," said MCHD Health Educator, Emily Pratt.

Rasanen said there other ways for people to properly dispose of syringes in a safe manner by themselves, using puncture-resistant gloves or tongs and laundry detergent containers.

"You can actually pick these items up in the middle of the barrel, and put them in the container and then seal it off and put it in your trash,” said Rasanen. She said it’s also important to label these containers “do not recycle” before throwing them away.

She added that it is important to not ignore these hazardous items if you come across them.

"We want to remind people that you need to look for these things and also we want to talk about safe handling so that we can put these items in safe containers so that other children, students, adults and our pets don't get injured by these needles," Rasanen said.

For more information on the syringe exchange program and statistics on how it helps make communities safer, click here.

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