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Community Survey Results - Outdoor Used Sharps Drop Box

Rectangular metal drop bin painted bright red for disposal of used syringes

The survey closed at the end of the day Sunday, December 10 2023.  Thanks to all who contributed!

Here are a summary and detailed report of responses:

Survey on Sharps Bin at Baker Library (Responses summary).pdfSURVEY_RESULTS_Sharps_Drop_Box_Proposal_COMMUNITY.pdfSurvey on Sharps Bin at Baker Library (Responses - COMMUNITY).pdfSurvey on Sharps Bin at Baker Library (Responses - LIBRARY).pdfSURVEY_RESULTS_Sharps_Drop_Box_Proposal_OREGON_LIBRARIES.pdf



In October 2023, BCLD received a proposal from New Directions Northwest, Inc. to host a drop box bin for used syringes on library grounds. Installation and maintenance would be provided by NDNW. The goal is to improve community safety by reducing the incidence of unsafe disposal in regular garbage bins or by littering on the ground. Malheur County reports collection an average collection rate of 20,000 used syringes in recent years. At its November meeting, the library board requested a community survey of public opinion about the idea.


With over 230 responses, results of the public survey are that
• 65% of respondents oppose an outdoor sharps drop box on library property
• 76% oppose making sharps bins available indoors in library restrooms.

Primary reasons for support
• public safety -- reduced risk of injury to children and pets from unsafely discarded syringes
• conveniently located
• decreased litter on path, in bushes, and river

Primary reasons for opposition are due to anticipated negative outcomes, including
• damage to view of the library as child-safe and family-friendly area
• skepticism about conscientious use by persons with substance abuse addiction
• fear of attracting more drug abuse behavior to the library and park area
• concern about vandalism and break-ins to boxes
• frustration with drug decriminalization developments in Oregon and perceived failure of harms reduction programs as contributing to a worsening urban and national drug crisis
• impression of bins signifying not just tolerance but condoning and enabling of substance abuse behavior
• worry that drop box bin placement will be followed by a clean needle distribution or exchange program in Baker County

Many commenters recommended that drop boxes instead be made available at the Baker County Health Department on 4th St, and the NDNW building on 13th . Several respondents said they used syringes to self-administer prescribed medication and were unaware of a safe disposal location in town.

The Public Library Directors survey collected 42 responses. Note: there are about 250 public libraries in Oregon.

Rural and frontier libraries
• 34% offer sharps deposit bins in their public restrooms
• 9% have a sharps bin available in their staff restrooms
• 53% reported having none
• One library (Roseburg) has an outdoor bin on their property

Urban and suburban libraries
• 27% offer sharps deposit bins in their public restrooms
• 18% have a sharps bin available in their staff restrooms
• 55% reported having none
• None reported an outdoor bin on library property