Pilot needle pickup program kicks off Oct. 10 countywide

(SKAGIT COUNTY)- Used needles can pose a public health hazard. And many people in Skagit County want to do something about it. In response to public requests, Skagit County Public Health is testing out a pilot needle pickup program starting Wednesday, Oct. 10.

For six months, Public Health will dispense as many as 100 needle pickup kits at its downtown offices, 700 S. Second Street, Mount Vernon. Kits include safety glasses, gloves, a needle pickup tool and a sharps container. Interested individuals can come by and pick up a kit free of charge. When the sharps container is full, they can return the kit to Public Health for disposal.

“We’re not going to solve the opioid crisis overnight, but we can take simple steps to protect our kids and keep our communities healthy,” said Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson. “Depending on the results of this pilot program, we’ll consider whether we expand the program or form ongoing partnerships with local community groups or agencies.”

County crews currently pick up discarded needles along county right of way or on county property. The new needle kits are designed for local community members who want to clean up their communities. Public Health staff encourage anyone who uses the kits to take proper precautions and use extreme care to avoid direct contact with the discarded needles.