NC city’s police warn residents about used needles left on streets

Discarded hypodermic needles (WFMY)

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WFMY) — If you don’t struggle with addiction personally, it can be easy to ignore the rise in overdoses across the Triad.

But now, High Point Police say you could be at a greater risk of coming across a used needle, which could have devastating health impacts.

So far this year, High Police have responded to 213 overdoses. Compare that to last year, when police responded to 191 in all. And in 2015, High Point Police responded to 77 overdoses.

With this spike in overdoses, police want you to be on the lookout for used needles.

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Police do not recommend trying to dispose of used needles on your own. If you come across needles, police say to call them or a nonprofit like Urban Survivor’s Union that has volunteered to come pick them up.

“I’ve struggled with substance abuse all my life and I contracted hepatitis C while I was using,” said Louise Vincent, founder of Urban Survivor’s Union. “Hepatitis C lives outside of the body. For up to a couple of weeks, it can be highly infectious. It’s a community health hazard, these needles being left out in the open.”

The nonprofit provides recovery resources, a needle exchange program and is now focusing on picking up needles in the community that have not been properly thrown away.

Since March, Vincent says she’s collected 98,000 used needles. Most of those were turned in by drug users to her office through the needle exchange program. But many of the needles were collected off the streets, she says.

Police say that if you do decide to pick up a needle yourself, you should wear gloves and use tongs or tweezers to pick it up. They also say you’ll want to point the needle tip away from your body. You should put the needles in a puncture proof container before throwing them away. After you’re done, police say to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Copyright 2017 WFMY

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