The primary objective of this study was to determine sharps disposal practices among people with diabetes in a community care clinic. Secondary objectives were to identify patterns of sharps use and barriers to proper use.


Surveys were distributed to patients at a community care clinic in person and via mail. Survey questions focused on how sharps are used and disposed of, the frequency of sharps changes, sharps disposal training, sharps identification, and confidence in sharps disposal. Participant demographics and diabetes profiles were also collected.


Among 89 respondents, mean age was 60 years (range 29–93 years), 61.8% were Caucasian, 88.8% had type 2 diabetes, and 60.7% had had a diabetes diagnosis for ≤10 years, with diverse diabetes management methods; 57.3% did not receive or were unsure of sharps training, 25.8% discarded used sharps without a designated sharps container, and 37.1% properly disposed of sharps containers at sharps disposal facilities. Barriers to proper sharps practices included perceived safety of reusing sharps and waste with single use, cost, and the hassle of disposal. Those with prior sharps training were more likely to properly use and discard sharps; however, gaps in knowledge were still evident in this population.


Results indicate gaps in proper sharps use and disposal knowledge among people with diabetes. Responses revealed sharps practices that are inconsistent with current federal and state regulations and are potentially dangerous for those handling improperly discarded sharps. Targeted sharps usage and disposal education resources are needed for individuals with and without prior sharps training.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.19750306

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