Safety a Priority as “Used” Needle Problem Increases in Store Restrooms
Everybody loves a good convenience store. Fast service, clean restrooms, and hot coffee make them the ideal place to stop off in a jiffy. For Norm’s Minit Mart, a family-owned, local convenience store chain, keeping the restrooms clean had become more of a challenge as the drug crisis in Henderson County worsens.
“People were leaving used drug needles on the floor, in the garbage bins, and flushing them down the toilets”, said Norm’s VP Michael Gordon. Cleaning up was a costly and dangerous process. When one of the employees was stuck with a needle while emptying the trash, Norm’s knew they had to do something to increase safety conditions for their staff and customers.
Their solution? Permanently affix used-needle “sharps” containers to the restroom walls. But, Norm’s didn’t stop there. They contacted First Contact with an idea for offering needle users with a more lasting type of assistance; an “advertisement” of sorts for First Contact’s services that would be attached directly to the disposal container. The idea was simple, but impactful. First Contact provided adhesive stickers, with an offer for help, and a number to call.
Months later, Norm’s is pleased to report that restroom patrons ARE using the containers for needle disposal, making the rooms safer for everyone. First Contact is measuring success in their own way.
To date, three individuals report coming directly from a Norm’s Minit Mart restroom to the office for help with addiction. One person was placed into the hospital for detox within a couple of hours, with arrangements secured for entry into a rehab facility after their medical needs were addressed. “This is a classic example of what types of services First Contact provides for individuals who are ready to make the change”, notes FC Director Craig Halford.
Testimonial Story from a Family Member:
First Contact loves to hear “happy” news from individuals and family members who have been helped by our ministry along the way. Here’s what one family member had to say about the sharps boxes at Norm’s Minit Mart.
“I saw this (sharps container) in a bathroom at a convenience store today. It is a very sad time we live in. It breaks my heart. I have lost so many loved ones to addiction. I have lost my whole family to addiction. My kids are the only family I have with me and it is my biggest fear for them. I do my best to be completely open and honest with them about addiction, and the loved ones they once had in their lives that are no longer here because of it. I’m sharing this picture because thanks to First Contact Ministries and their help, I have my sister back after years of addiction. She isn’t close by but she is healthy and clean and keeps fighting. If it wasn’t for such loving and caring people to stick by her, not give up on her, and to continuously pray for her she may not be here today. If you need help and support [with addiction], contact these wonderful people. They truly are a blessing!❤”