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Columbus Health Officials Hope to Expand Needle Drop-Off Program
COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia/Ken Hines) -- Columbus Health Department leaders are hoping to expand Operation Red Box -- a pilot project of needle and syringe drop-offs for injection drug users.
The program currently features a red drop-box for used needles at the intersection of 20th St. and Mt. Vernon Ave. in East Columbus.
Needles can be placed in the box anonymously at any time at no charge.
The program is funded by the United Way, and includes money for the removal of needles by a medical waste company.
At least 25,000 needles have been collected from the box since the program's inception, reducing the threat the items pose to Columbus residents.
The program's operators hope that red boxes will soon be put into use throughout the state.
"We are Buckeyes," Operation Red Box volunteer Greg Porter said. "We are going to clear this up and make sure no child is ever injured again."
Porter began volunteering for the program after a five-year-old boy was infected with hepatitis through accidental exposure to a dirty needle.