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Needle and Syringe Disposal

Used needles and syringes are dangerous to people and pets if not disposed of safely because they can cause injury and spread infections, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.

Disposal Drop Boxes 

You can deposit your used needles and syringes into sharps disposal drop boxes at two locations in Cambridge:


CHA Windsor Street Care ​Center
119 Windsor Street, ground floor
Cambridge, MA | Map

The drop box is located near the lobby of the building, at the entrance to the ground floor offices.


Cambridge Polic​e Department
125 Sixth Street
Cambridge, MA | Map

You can anonymously deposit needles and syringes, as well as unused medications, at any time in the appropriate drop boxes located in the first floor lobby of the police station’s Records Unit. This area is to your right as you enter the lobby.

Guidelines for Proper Disposal of Needles and Syringes 

  • Don’t put loose needles and syringes in the sharps drop boxes. Instead, place the items in a sharps container or a 1-gallon (or smaller) hard-sided plastic container with a lid, such as a laundry detergent, bleach, or soda bottle. Tape the container shut.
  • Don’t leave containers outside the sharps drop boxes.
  • Don’t put medications or other medical supplies in the sharps drop boxes. You can dispose of unused medications at the Cambridge Police Department’s medication disposal drop box. To learn about other ways to dispose of medication in Cambridge, see the health department’s medication disposal web page.
  • The Cambridge Public Health Department is sometimes able to provide small, personal-sized sharps containers to residents who request them at the health department office, 119 Windsor Street, ground floor. Please call ahead to confirm availability: 617-665-3802.

Emergency Disposal 

If you find needles or syringes in public places (e.g., streets, sidewalks, parks, city buildings) in Cambridge, you can call the Cambridge Police Department’s 24/7 business line: 617-349-3300. If possible, wait for the responders to arrive so that you can help them locate the items.
If the needles or syringes pose an immediate safety threat, call 911. 
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can:
  • Call the city’s Anonymous Crime/Drug Tip Hotline: 617-349-3359. Please note that this is a voice messaging system and will not trigger an immediate response.
  • Text an anonymous tip to Tip411 (847411). More information can be accessed on the Cambridge Police Department website: http://www.cambridgepolice.org/Tips
  • Send an anonymous email tip, which can be accessed from the Cambridge Police Department’s website: http://www.cambridgepolice.org/Tips.
Once a call, text, or email is received, the city’s Emergency Communications Department will dispatch the Fire Department or Pro EMS ambulance service to retrieve and dispose of the items.

Safety Tips

  • Avoid touching or handling needles or syringes found in public places. Parents and caregivers should remind children not to touch needles in parks and playgrounds.
  • If you are accidently stuck by another person’s used needle or other sharp:
    • Wash the exposed area right away with water and soap or use a skin disinfectant (antiseptic) such as rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. 
    • Seek immediate medical attention by calling your provider right away or going to your local hospital emergency department. Providers will check your immunization status and may begin preventative treatment.
  • Personal safety tips for disposal:  DO’s and DON’Ts: Safe Disposal of Needles and Other Sharps Used At Home, At Work, or While Traveling (FDA)



If you find needles or syringes in public places in Cambridge, call the Cambridge Police Department's 24-hour business line, 617-349-3300, or text an anonymous tip to Tip411 (847411).

If the needles or syringes pose an immediate safety threat, call 911. 



Cambridge Public Health Department
119 Windsor Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-665-3800 (main)
617-665-3888 (fax)
617-643-0744 (TTY)

Hours: Monday-Friday:
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
After Hours

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Public Records 

Derrick Neal
Chief Public Health Officer



Cambirdge Health Alliance

Cambridge City
City of Cambridge