Starbucks Addresses Opioid Epidemic with New Policy

Playing Needle Disposal Boxes in Coffee Shop Bathrooms?

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The Doctors often discuss the deadly opioid epidemic in the U.S. as deaths keep occurring but the danger spans beyond just drug users. The popular coffee chain, Starbucks, is taking the initiative to try and protect their employees by installing needle disposal boxes in locations across the country. 

Watch: Inside Ohio's Opioid Epidemic

Starbucks employees have reported finding blood and disregarded needles and syringes in bathrooms and this poses a risk for anyone who is cleaning in there. The Doctors point out how easily someone can accidentally stick themselves if needles are on the floor or in garbage bags. These needles could carry a host of diseases, like hepatitis or HIV

The Doctors think installing these boxes is a step in the right direction to keeping employees safe. “If you are finding needles at Starbucks like that, you have to assume the worst, that these are drug users which puts them [employees] in a high-risk group for all of those potential life-threatening conditions,” Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon says. 

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork brings up the counter-argument that he believes some people may have; they may say that this is encouraging individuals to do drugs in the bathrooms of those places with receptacles. OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry doesn’t think this is the case since she believes drug users aren’t really concerned with the possibility of sticking someone with a needle. So then the question is, will they even use these receptacles?

Dr. Ordon notes Starbucks is one of the few places that has the open bathroom policy regardless of if you are a patron. With this drug problem going on, that may be the reason most places do not have this policy.

Watch: A Healthcare Worker Infected Me with Hepatitis C

Starbucks released a statement about the new disposal boxes. “These societal issues affect us all and can sometimes place our partners (employees) in scary situations, which is why we have protocols and resources in place to ensure our partners are out of harm’s way.”

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