KC Clinic gives out 750,000 needles a year

Posted at 10:07 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 23:22:53-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man is moving forward with a plan to pick up syringes found in a vacant lot across the street from his home. 

41 Action News met Corey Schaadt last week as he put together a container for people to dispose of their needles in a safe manner.

Now, a clinic a block away is helping out. KC CARE Health Clinic will properly dispose of Schaadt's needles and give him new containers to put out. 

The clinic offers the only needle exchange program in the Kansas City area. It collects syringes from clients and gives them new ones, in addition to Band-Aids, cotton swabs, Naloxone and tourniquets. 

"If people are going to stop using drugs at some point, they are going to have to change their behavior along the road," said Dennis Dunmyer, the chief wellness officer at KC CARE Health Clinic. "People who come to a syringe access program have started to take a step in keeping themselves healthier and are more likely over time to take other steps." 

The exchange program is anonymous.

Each year, Dunmyer estimates the clinic gives out about 750,000 needles and gets back almost half a million. 

"Those needles are not going to go away. People are going to have needles to use," he said. "We absolutely think that if we weren't disposing of those 500,000 needles, those needles would be out in the streets and in our community." 

In Missouri, needle exchange programs are illegal. However, there are attempts to pass legislation to make them legal.