13th Aug, 2020

Used needles left outside Redditch pharmacy 'putting public at risk'

USED needles and syringes are being left outside a Redditch pharmacy despite it providing drug users with boxes for sharp objects.

Local man David Byrne, who himself works to help drug addicts, came across the paraphernalia when he left Lloyds Pharmacy in William Street after picking up a prescription.

“This is a major issue and something has to be done about,” he said.

“It’s all very well talking about harm reduction for the users, but what about harm reduction for the wider public?”

The pharmacy is the late night needle exchange for Redditch and is open seven days a week.

Mr Byrne added users were reluctant to be seen with a sharps box and that, as the service provider, Lloyds had limited room to address the problem.

“I’ve complained to the manager but due to issues of confidentiality it’s very difficult for them to track who is or isn’t returning used needles in the sharps boxes,” he said.

Lloyds Pharmacy manager Hassan Chudhary said the situation was very frustrating.

“It’s very limited what I can do – we are obliged to provide the service and we encourage users to bring everything back to the pharmacy but we have no control over whether they do or not.”

However he said he was concerned enough to speak to his head office to try and find a solution.

The contract provider is the Swanswell Charitable Trust, which has offices in Alcester Street in Redditch.

Its local service manager, Matthew Burke said: “All clients are able to and encouraged to dispose of needles in a safe and responsible way.

“When the sharps boxes are returned they’re disposed of as hazardous waste.

“If a client doesn’t return the sharps box they will be asked why not and there will be a discussion around the safe disposal of needles with them.

“We are committed to working in partnership with pharmacies and other partners, to look at ways we can increase the safe return of needles and to promote safe needle disposal.”

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