Although they are often produced by legitimate medical use, discarded needles and other medical sharps present a safety hazard to businesses and individuals throughout Porter County. To assist with safe and proper disposal, the Porter County Substance Abuse Council (PCSAC) is providing free needle disposal collection boxes to any entities or individuals that wish to have a box on site.

To clarify, this is not a syringe exchange program. It is a collection for proper disposal program.

Anyone wishing to receive a free needle disposal box can simply visit and fill out the application form. Applying is free and easy.

The council is offering convenient locations throughout the county for safe disposal at no cost, in partnership with the Porter County Sheriff’s Department and the Valparaiso, Hebron, Chesterton, Portage, Burns Harbor, and Porter Police Departments.

“Given the prevalence of discarded needles and the threat they pose to our community, our organization recommends that every business or public venue consider contacting us for a free sharps disposal unit to keep these items from winding up in the trash or in the wrong hands,” said Dawn Pelc, PCSAC executive director and Drug Free Communities project director.

“We would like to thank all of our partners in this endeavor to keep Porter County residents safe from accidental contact with medical sharps and needles,” she added.

Used needles and other sharps are a health and safety hazard to people and pets because of the risk of injury and the risk of spreading infections, viruses, and disease. According to the CDC, about 1/3 of those injecting use syringes from sterile sources with the rest obtaining needles from street sources, many by way of improper disposal. By offering sharps collection options and creating more pathways for proper disposal, PCSAC is working to reduce community outbreaks of dangerous health conditions.