SEATTLE—Starbucks has installed sharps-disposal boxes in stores in 25 U.S. markets in response to concerns about improperly disposed needles found in its restrooms and the health risks employees face from accidental needle sticks, Business Insider reports.
The move comes as thousands of employees have petitioned the coffee giant to place needle-disposal boxes in areas at high risk for opioid use. Starbucks workers report regularly finding used syringes and needles on the job. Starbucks plans to expand the initiative to more stores by fall.
In a statement to Fox News, a Starbucks spokesperson said, “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.”
Nationwide, restaurants and retailers with public restrooms are on the front lines of the opioid crisis. Business Insider cited a New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research study indicating that 58% of New York business managers surveyed reported encountering drug use in their businesses’ restrooms. Another Center for Drug Use and HIV Research study of 15 service-industry workers found that a significant majority had encountered drug use, syringes, or both in bathrooms while on the job.