Have you seen them? I first noticed one in a ladies room at a mall just north of Boston. I could hardly believe my eyes. I mentioned it to a friend who then asked if the mall was located in a bad neighborhood. It wasn’t… I eventually decided that there must have been a mall employee with a health issue and I didn’t think much about it again, until a few weeks ago. That’s when I spotted the second one.
I have been doing some traveling lately through different parts of the United States. I stopped to buy fuel while heading across Indiana. This time, it was at an upscale truck stop, right above the baby changing table in the ladies room. Being curious, I stopped at the fuel desk on my way out to ask the clerk if they also had a needle disposal box in the men’s restroom. A guy overheard my question and told us that there was. That’s when I realized that this is a widespread occurrence.
Some quick statistics on diabetes: approximately one third of the population of the United States is considered to be obese. Obese folks have a higher risk of getting diabetes. This is a costly disease, to say the least. It affects limbs, eyesight, heart health, children, bank accounts and more. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 9% of the populations of North America aged 20 – 79 (includes Canada and Mexico) have the disease. Those numbers are expected to increase. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently predicted:
“If current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans will develop diabetes sometime in their lifetime, and those with diabetes will lose, on average, 10–15 years of life.”
Not surprisingly, although the report from the CDC points out that diabetes can be avoided and cured, it only mentions the benefits of weight loss and exercise. I find this particularly disturbing. Studies have shown that eating a vegan diet COMBINED with lowering fat intake with increased exercise results in unparalleled health improvements and decreases the need for medication. 
A few days past Indiana, I stopped and spent a night at a hotel in Salt Lake City. Not having seen a television for a while, I kicked off my shoes, flopped down on the bed and flipped through the channels. I landed on a PBS station airing Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes. I was grateful to see that Dr. Barnard was getting important information out to the public that could help heal illness due to unhealthy eating habits. It must be a welcome relief to see some light at the end of the tunnel for people who have to seek out a public restroom in order to inject themselves with insulin so they can eat.
Aside from what the medical industry would like for us to believe, there are better ways to control diabetes besides purchasing expensive medicine from large corporations. There are many people for whom medicine helps to sustain their lives. For that reason it is a good idea to have safety disposal boxes for used needles. I cannot help but to think about these folks and wonder how much better off they may have been had they known about other options. I am sure there are many who would prefer to eat healthier than to use costly medicine.
Thank goodness for people like Neal Barnard and the other doctors/staff at the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) for their work, and for the PBS stations that broadcast this life-saving information on how a vegan diet is important to prevent and reverse the disease.
Back to my travels: I rolled into Las Vegas and tracked down the local Whole Foods Market which is always a treat as there aren’t many in the central states. At one point, I ducked into the ladies room and you know it…there was a sharps box in there. I can’t tell you how glad I am to be vegan!
Posted in: Health Issues