Starbucks will begin to install needle removal boxes in some of its bathrooms in response to a petition from an employee claiming that baristas and other workers often found hypodermic needles thrown in garbage cans, bins and jars. elimination of buffers and changing stations diapers.

according to the petition, which has been published on Coworker.org and has received more than 3,800 signatures to date, Starbucks employees across the country often need to get rid of hypodermic needles that can be used to inject drugs, particularly heroin and other opioids, left in bathrooms stores.

"Employees may be bitten and MUST sting, even after following the 'protocol' of using gloves and pliers to dispose of needles left in bathrooms, buffer bins and changing stations" we read in the petition. "It costs nearly $ 2,000 for a single set of post-exposure shots, not counting other tests, vaccines, drugs, and so on. Employees must pay for this expense themselves before being reimbursed until the Starbucks business insurance comes into play. Many baristas can not afford it, instead they resort to loans and credit cards. "

The petition also states that employees are not legally required to remove syringes, but often do so because stores must pay for hazardous materials on their own budget. This is what is termed "veiled threat of even less staff coverage on an already staffed position." ground."

Some of the Starbucks employees who signed the petition attributed the problem of the syringe to the company. Third place policyallows anyone – even those who buy nothing – to use Starbucks' facilities, including their bathrooms. The company implemented this policy after staff members moved to Philadelphia. called the police on two black men who were sitting in a cafe but had not ordered anything. The men, who said they waited for a partner, were subsequently arrested.

An employee by the name of Jaime L., who works in a place "in a big city center that has always had a problem of drug use in the bathrooms," said in a comment on the petition that the policy of third place exacerbated the problem:

Since the coming into force of the new rule arising from the incident of April 2018, the number of needles in our garbage and on our soils has increased. Fortunately, no one was injured at home during the years of my stay, but over the months, since we became public institutions nationwide, bathroom conditions have deteriorated.

Some Seattle Starbucks have already installed sharps boxes, according to Business Insider. The company reportedly began installing them after three Seattle employees told the local KIRO news station 7 that they had been injured by discarded needles.

However, syringe disposal issues are not limited to Starbucks and may not have anything to do with the company's third-place policy, said Brett Wolfson-Stofko, researcher at the Center for Disease Control. drug use and HIV to HIV research, to Business Insider. Wolfson-Stofko interviewed 86 business executives in New York City and found that 58% of them had faced drug use or props in their company's bathroom.

"Even before Starbucks said anyone could use the toilet, it did not dissuade consumers from injecting drugs," Wolfson-Stofko told Business Insider.

Cities across the country, including Philadelphia cream and Seattle, have also begun installing sharps disposal bins in some areas where hypodermic needles are often left in the streets. In the same way safe injection sites and needle exchange programsthese disposal sites are part of a larger public health strategy that neither encourages nor denigrates drug use, but simply considers it a reality. The idea, as Vox's German Lopez explained, is based on the fact that "although in an ideal world no one consumes dangerous and potentially lethal drugs, many people do so". Sharps boxes are a small part of this broader approach, which is gaining ground in major cities like New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia as the opioid crisis continues.

Some harm reduction organizations have praised Starbucks' decision to install these containers in some of its bathrooms. Julia Ritzler-Shelling, Director of Community Health Initiatives and Harm Reduction Services, Trillium Health Group, Rochester told local reporters that the boxes with sharp objects would be an advantage for the community. "This will give the community members, the person who uses drugs, the employees, a sense of security that there is an appropriate place to place this syringe if someone is using the bathroom," he said. said Ritzler-Shelling.

Starbucks did not respond to Vox's request for comment. In a statement to Business Insider, Starbucks representative Reggie Borges said the company has "protocols and resources in place to [employees] are out of danger. "