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Sheriff's officials suspicious about success of program to collect syringes

February 22, 2010 |  2:20 pm

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a6b7e89e970b-320wiLos Angeles County Sheriff’s officials say a department program to safely collect unwanted syringes at mail-like boxes outside its stations may be a little too successful.

During the last five months, the boxes have been filled to the brim with nearly 32,000 needles, officials said. But because large batches of similar type syringes are being left, investigators believe some of the needles may be from the medical industry.

“We cannot trace the sources, but some of the needles look prepackaged like they are from a medical clinic,” said Steve Whitmore, a sheriff's spokesman.

“These boxes are not for commercial use,” Whitmore said. “It says right on them.”

The boxes – similar to ones for safe drug drop-off -- are for anonymous disposal of syringes, drugs and medications, officials said. In addition to the syringes, the department also has collected 1,200 pounds of medications and less than a gram of narcotics.

--Richard Winton

Photo: Times file

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