"It's Raining Needles" Locals Frustrated As Opioid Addicts Litter Ground With Syringes

Tyler Durden's picture

Drug-overdose deaths rose 19% in 2016 to 52,000, making drugs the leading killer of American adults under 50. And all evidence suggests these totals have continued to climb in 2017, propelled by the worsening opioid epidemic or the fact that more dangerous opioid analogues like fentanyl and carfentanil are findng their way into the drug supply.

Indeed, the US has a higher rate of drug related deaths than any other developed country in the world. As we’ve reported previously, the epidemic is straining public resources like hospitals, local police departments, and child services which in many states have seen a surge in cases where the parents are addicted to opioids. To that list, we can now add local public health department in areas hit hard by the epidemic, which are struggling to clean up a flood of used and possibly infected needles discarded by addicts. 

They hide in weeds along hiking trails and in playground grass. They wash into rivers and float downstream to land on beaches. They pepper baseball dugouts, sidewalks and streets. Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin crisis are turning up everywhere.


In Portland, Maine, officials have collected more than 700 needles so far this year, putting them on track to handily exceed the nearly 900 gathered in all of 2016. In March alone, San Francisco collected more than 13,000 syringes, compared with only about 2,900 the same month in 2016.”

People, often children, risk getting stuck by discarded needles, raising the prospect they could contract blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis or HIV or be exposed to remnants of heroin or other drugs. It's unclear whether anyone has gotten sick, but the reports of children finding the needles can be sickening in their own right. One 6-year-old girl in California mistook a discarded syringe for a thermometer and put it in her mouth; she was unharmed, according to NBC Boston.

“‘I just want more awareness that this is happening,’ said Nancy Holmes, whose 11-year-old daughter stepped on a needle in Santa Cruz, California, while swimming. ‘You would hear stories about finding needles at the beach or being poked at the beach. But you think that it wouldn't happen to you. Sure enough.’


They are a growing problem in New Hampshire and Massachusetts — two states that have seen many overdose deaths in recent years.


‘We would certainly characterize this as a health hazard,’ said Tim Soucy, health director in Manchester, New Hampshire's largest city, which collected 570 needles in 2016, the first year it began tracking the problem. It has found 247 needles so far this year.”

Needles turn up in places like parks, baseball diamonds, trails and beaches, places where drug users can gather and attract little attention. They toss the needles out of carelessness, or the fear of being prosecuted for possessing them.  One child was poked by a needle left on the grounds of a Utah elementary school. Another youngster stepped on one while playing on a beach in New Hampshire. Even if these children did't get sick, they still had to endure a battery of tests to make sure they didn't catch anything. The girl who put a syringe in her mouth was not poked but had to be tested for hepatitis B and C, her mother said.

Some community advocates have started helping out, organizing patrols to dispose of illegally discarded needles. 

"Rocky Morrison leads a cleanup effort along the Merrimack River, which winds through the old milling city of Lowell, and has recovered hundreds of needles in abandoned homeless camps that dot the banks, as well as in piles of debris that collect in floating booms he recently started setting.


He has a collection of several hundred needles in a fishbowl, a prop he uses to illustrate that the problem is real and that towns must do more to combat it.


'We started seeing it last year here and there. But now, it's just raining needles everywhere we go,' said Morrison, a burly, tattooed construction worker whose Clean River Project has six boats working parts of the 117-mile (188-kilometer) river."

Still, children continue to find, and sometimes accidentally stick themselves with, the discarded needles – it’s another way in which the worsening public-health crisis that is the opioid epidemic disproportionately impacts the young. Some parents in Santa Cruz, Calif. even talk about the first time children find a needle as a rite of passage.

Among the oldest tracking programs is in Santa Cruz, California, where the community group Take Back Santa Cruz has reported finding more than 14,500 needles in the county over the past 4 1/2 years. It says it has gotten reports of 12 people getting stuck, half of them children.

"It's become pretty commonplace to find them. We call it a rite of passage for a child to find their first needle," said Gabrielle Korte, a member of the group's needle team. "It's very depressing. It's infuriating. It's just gross."

Along the Merrimack, nearly three dozen riverfront towns are debating how to stem the flow of needles. Two regional planning commissions are drafting a request for proposals for a cleanup plan. They hope to have it ready by the end of July.

"We are all trying to get a grip on the problem," said Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini. "The stuff comes from somewhere. If we can work together to stop it at the source, I am all for it."

While the crisis’s epicenter is in Ohio and the Rust - opioid-related deaths in Ohio jumped from 296 in 2003 to 2,590 in 2015 - Northeastern states like Massachusetts, New Jersey and even Vermont and New Hampshire have been especially hard hit.

In Ohio, resources have been spread so thin that one city council member has proposed a controversial solution: When people who dial 911 seeking help for someone who's overdosing on opioids, they may start hearing something new from dispatchers: “No.” Dan Picard, a city councilman in Middletown, Ohio, population 50,000, floated the idea.

Picard and others have described his proposal as a cry of frustration.

“It’s not a proposal to solve the drug problem,” Picard said this week. “My proposal is in regard to the financial survivability of our city. If we’re spending $2 million this year and $4 million next year and $6 million after that, we’re in trouble. We’re going to have to start laying off. We're going to have to raise taxes,” he told the Washington Post.

But as death tolls rise, and local morgues run out of room for more bodies, Picard's proposal begs the question: What, exactly is our plan for dealing with this crisis?

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SafelyGraze's picture

there is a youtube where this guy builds a forge out of mud and then collects the needles and dumps them into the fire and they melt into a big ingot and he hammers it into a sculpture of a beautiful octopus


Darkman17's picture

When are we going to talk about some serious syringe conrol in this country. 

If we banned syringes from everyone except Nurses, we could easily get rid of this problem of opioid addiction. 

Since i know the republicans would be against this, I would recommend we start with: 

  • Requiring registration and background checks for anyone buying syringes 
  • Forcing syringe producers to only allow 10 ml of fluid per syringe
  • Banning syringes in schools and public court houses
  • Requiring a permit from a local sheriff to conceal syringes
  • Requiring that syringes only be transported in the trunk of a vehicle. 

With those laws, I am sure this problem goes away.....


jimmy c korn's picture

They outlaw plastic bags, why not outlaw syringes?

oh wait... Hillary has to have an injection every minute & a half!

Son of Loki's picture

8 years of a flood of drugs flowing across the Mexico-USA border under Hussein bin Bama has consequences.

You would think blacks who are dying like flies from overdoses due to Obama's wide open border policies and Holder's handing drug ganags guns would be wiser when they are in the voting booth.

Overfed's picture

I'm all for complete de-regulation of drugs. However, I'm also thinking that being a totally inconsiderate asshole who throws his/her dirty needle on the ground for some kid to step on, should at the very least warrant a savage beating.

Dig Deeper1's picture

smokers do it all the time with their spent cigs...why not dopers?

The Ram's picture

End it like Mao and others help end the opium wars.....shoot them.  Why are we supporting addicts.

Lost in translation's picture

It's a demand problem.

Not a supply problem.

rado_watching's picture

I'm making over $12k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,... www.Jobzon3.com Go this web and start your work.. Good luck...

TheFederalistPapers's picture

I make $12K/month collecting needles.

Douche bag.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Both...they are components of the Communist NWO destabilization program.

Justin Case's picture

Fucking wetbacks are dumping their cheap drugs into US.

Now we start to understand Duterte and his mission. Fucking CIA are dumping their cheap drugs into Philippines.

Lost in translation's picture

Assault syringes.

Hi-cap syringes.

Déjà view's picture

QE syringes...

Seattle drops 'em from Space 'Needle'...

Volaille de Bresse's picture

"With those laws, I am sure this problem goes away....."


It won't and you'll only spread diseases. What you recommend is going back to the 80's and back then it didn't work : addicts would use Nth-hand dirty (AIDS, hep B & C) syringes with dull needles and it was horrible.


Can you imagine an addict rubbing an old used needle on the pavement to sharpen it before he sticks it in his vein? Ugly sight I tell you.

Darkman17's picture

I see that about 40% of the ZH audience understands sarcasm judging by my up to down vote ratio. 

There are three parts to the problem, with my proposed solutions

  1. The crime associated to distributing drugs -> Legalization 
  2. The anti-social behavior of drug users -> Natural self selection, all the drug users will end up in the same part of town
  3. The health problem of drug usage -> Again Legalization, things like standardization of dose, cleanliness of paraphernalia, purity of drugs will all go a long way. 

After we are done with these three, we would see the net result, and then it would be easy to take care of the problems remaining since the big three would have been moved out of the way. 

waspwench's picture

Legalize all drugs and set up centres where addicts can obtain a free fix on demand.

Crime would fall dramatically.

There would not be a needle problem because there would be no need for addicts to carry needles with them.

Addicts would  voluntarily show up at regular intervals at the drug centres so the authorities would always know where to find them.

Addicts would be healthier because they would always inject using clean needles and with medical grade drugs so they would not be spreading disease in the community.

Yes, addicts would still die from drug abuse but at least the damage they do to our society would be largely eliminated and so would a large part of the cost.

This could be done and should be done but it never will be done because too many people are making too much money out of the present situation, not least the CIA which is heavily engaged in drug running, drug smuggling, and in blackmailing drug producers, gangs, mules, pushers, users and so forth.


Yeah it worked great for prohibition. The demand would still be there. The only change would be that the cost of nnedles would skyrocket as would the crime associated with getting the money to pay for them.

The only solution that would help at this point is legalization. That solves the overdose problems, the needles and the associated crime. 

atomp's picture

I think we need a placard on the sarc gauge.

Ms No's picture

Ewww, that is bad juju.  I would'n't want that thing in my house.  That's like 100 peoples attempted suicide tool. 

peopledontwanttruth's picture

It's more draining on an army/nation's resources to wound soldiers than kill them

Planned destruction of America

darkstar7646's picture

Get your gun out, motherfucker.

You're going to have to kill us.

We are not part of your America.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Eat shit and die, junkie. You will kill yourself in 3, 2, 1. 

The Deacon's picture

Ask Duterte from the Phillipines  what he would do.

cheech_wizard's picture

"Ding Ding Ding!!! We have a winner!!!!!! Tell him what he's won Johnny!!"

halcyon's picture

You do not get it. 

Most opioids killing americans are legal prescription drugs prescribed by your friendly doctor. 

The US opioid problem is a fully legalized mess created by big pharma for profits. 

Your local drug dealer is now fully licensed PhD in a white coat. 

halcyon's picture

You do not get it. 

Most opioids killing americans are legal prescription drugs prescribed by your friendly doctor. 


The US opioid problem is a fully legalized mess created by big pharma for profits. 

Your local drug dealer is now a fully licensed PhD in a white coat. 

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Your "main man" is a CIA agent in charge of the delivery of tons of kilos to the "Joneses." Money talks, bullshit walks.

ConnectingTheDots's picture

To Gen. Ripper: you said "My solution. DIE"

I truly hope that you never have to experience the pain of someone among your loved ones falling victim to this epidemic. That pain is then compounded hearing someone say the words you wrote.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

"Stupid fuckwads who abuse opiods deserve to die." - Darwin

Yars Revenge's picture

This proves the war on drugs is a total failure.

Had it been successful there would be no opioid epidemic.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

There never was a war on drugs.


UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Been in China, Indonesia, Singapore, or the Philippines lately?

Twee Surgeon's picture

Legalize the Dope for a year or two. No reviving (Junkie) overdoses. Problem goes away.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

There will no longer be an opiod epidemic once the pushers kill-off all of their customers, then commit "suicide." Duterte for President!

Andizzle76's picture

My ex-GF just died from this shit, let them die once you chase the dragon there is no coming back.



darkstar7646's picture

If you had a set of balls, you'd have killed her yourself, if you're any more than just warrioring behind a fucking keyboard, you hack.

hoytmonger's picture

Get the CIA out of Afghanistan, problem solved.

Ms No's picture

If we disbanded the CIA, NSA and the Fed the world might now peace for a few years.

Volaille de Bresse's picture

"Get the CIA out of Afghanistan, problem solved"

And let the Talibans take over the country and raze all the poppy fields (just like they did in 2000).

CC Lemon's picture

Free drug party in the desert. Free drugs, toilets, water, all you can inject. Free bussing from anwhere in the states. One time offer, free drugs followed by a nice relaxiing snooze in the sun.


Bus 'em in, and leave 'em.