Grass-roots Company Starts Needle Buy-back Program in South End

For more than two years, several South End and Newmarket leaders have asked for some sort of needle buy-back program, and that request has now been granted as a grass-roots company has begun buying back needles to be destroyed onsite at a location in the South End.

South End Forum moderator Steve Fox told the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association (WSANA) on Tuesday night that Addiction Disposal Resources LLC has begun a buy-back program on a pilot basis – working with the City and community to investigate how the effort will fare.

So far, so good, Fox said.

“I’m delighted to say this idea we’ve talked about for so long has been picked up by a start-up company called Addiction Disposal Resources,” he said. “It is a pilot program to look at a bounty or buy-back program for needles and syringes.”

Right now, he said they are offering 20 cents a syringe for a maximum payout per day of $10. The company has purchased an incinerator that is located at their South End site, and they destroy all of the needles then and there. That, he said, is because there are complications involved when on starts to transport hazardous waste like needles and syringes.

“They began in late December and it’s a three-month pilot,” he said. “Thus far, they’ve managed to collect 30,000 needles to last few weeks. That’s good news because it means the vehicle we’ve talked about for a long time to get rid of needles on our streets is now being put into action.”

The company is currently fully funded by private donations, but the hope is that it can eventually become a public-private partnership with help from the City and private industry too. They operate from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. each morning, so as not to conflict with the Needle Exchange Program AHOPE on Albany Street.

“I’m glad someone is trying this,” Fox said.

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