Dangers of Used Syringes

August 15 p.m. -- Posted at 6:04 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Two Region 8 children have been stuck with used hypodermic syringes over the past few weeks and it has both parents and police alarmed.

"We have had two incidents in the last three or four weeks where we have had accidental exposure to needles in public places specifically a parking lot and a child's back yard," said pediatrician Dr. Jane Sneed.

In both cases, the children were stuck in the hand with the needles.  Their parents now face months of worry about diseases Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

"It's more about informing the patients of what their rights are in terms of treating and not treating and then letting them choose which way they want to go," said Dr. Sneed.

Health officials will observe the two children for the next six months to watch for symptoms of HIV.

"A parent would want to keep their eye out anywhere children were likely to play, such as a park or out near their house," said Sgt. Stephen McDaniel of the Jonesboro Police Department.

"We need to educate children about what a syringe looks like, because I'm not quite sure kids know what a syringe looks like," said Dr. Sneed.

In addition to teaching children what needles looks like, diabetic parents should also know what to do with used syringes.

"People with diabetes need to make sure that they dispose of their needles properly.   There are needle containers that you can get when you purchase your syringes at the pharmacy or you can just use any heavy plastic jug," said Dr. Sneed.

There are certain places around the area used as dump sites by intravenous drug users, but sometimes contaminated syringes can be found in unexpected locations.

If you find a needle and you don't know what to do with it you can contact the Jonesboro Police Department.

Katie Threlkeld, the new educator for St. Bernards Medical Center, is working to develop a needle drop off program for Jonesboro.

If you would like to help with this program, you can contact Katie Threlkeld at 870-336-4912.