Published On: Mon, Mar 18th, 2019

Syringe kiosks installed around Cherokee tribal lands

 

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 

Health officials with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are hoping the installation of syringe kiosks in various locations will help reduce the amount of discarded syringes and lancets or sharps.  The kiosks, 17 in all, are painted red, emblazoned with the logo of the EBCI Public Health and Human Services program, include a slogan stating “Dedicated to seven generations of wellness…by promoting a clean and safe community”, and are placed around the Qualla Boundary as well as in Cherokee County and the Snowbird Community.

Health officials with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are hoping the installation of syringe kiosks in various locations will help reduce the amount of discarded syringes and lancets or sharps. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photos)

The kiosks can be found at the following locations:

  • Snowbird Clinic, beside the police department
  • Cherokee County, beside the John Welch Senior Center Building sign
  • Birdtown Gym
  • Wolftown Gym
  • Painttown Gym
  • Big Cove Community Club Building
  • By the restrooms in front of the EMS building on Acquoni Road
  • Open Air Market parking lot
  • Cherokee Visitor Center parking lot
  • Anthony Edward Lossiah Justice Center, next to the front door
  • Restrooms near the old Barclay building
  • Downtown restrooms by the foundation, back door
  • Food Lion parking area, median area in front of Domino’s
  • Tribal Food Distribution (Commodities) parking lot
  • Clean Store Road, Old River Road curve
  • Big Cove fish ponds
  • 3200 Acre Tract, on the left side of the driveway to the community building

“Our goal is that there will be less syringe litter on the ground everywhere,” said Ginger Southard, EBCI Syringe Services Program supervisor.  “Anything that we can get off the ground is better than leaving it out there for people to come up on.  We’re also hoping it will reduce hazards for people who are out working.  People can just put them in the kiosk instead.”

She added,  “Anybody can use it.  So, they don’t have to store their diabetic needles at home anymore and leave them sitting around in milk jugs.”

Vickie Bradley, EBCI Secretary of Public Health and Human Services, noted that the kiosks are for all syringes and sharps – diabetic as well as those used for illicit drugs.  “They don’t have cameras in them.  You’re not going to be prosecuted if you’re seen using them.”

Southard described the maintenance plan for the kiosks, “Our plan is to go around after they’re all set and then wait around three weeks to check how full they are.  And, once we can gauge how quickly they get full, then we’ll set up a schedule for emptying them.”

Sheena Lambert, EBCI Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) public health director, commented, “It’s a team effort.  PHHS took the lead on ordering the kiosks.  It’s a biohazard so Facilities painted them all red.”

Information from the EPA states the importance of having communities free of discarded syringes.  “People exposed to sharps face not only the risk of a painful stick, but also the risk of contracting a life-altering disease such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B or C.  All needle-stick injuries are treated as if the needle were infected with a disease.  Victims of sharps-related injuries face the cost of post-injury testing, disease prevention measures, and counseling, even if no infection or disease was spread.”

For more information on the EBCI Syringe Services program, visit: https://theonefeather.com/2018/08/tribes-syringe-services-program-working-on-harm-reduction/

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