LOCAL NEWS

Thousands of needles cleaned up off streets of Seattle

Oct 24, 2017, 9:17 AM | Updated: 12:40 pm
needles...
A used syringe found just outside a car door after parking in Seattle's Eastlake neighborhood. (Dyer Oxley, MyNorthwest)
(Dyer Oxley, MyNorthwest)

In 15 months, 32,012 hypodermic syringes were collected in Seattle, according to Seattle Public Utilities.

RELATED: Parent creates needle website after endless ‘horror stories’

People disposed of 26,647 syringes in nine disposal boxes that are spread throughout the city. An additional 5,365 were removed from public property since the Sharps Collection Pilot Program began over the summer of last year.

SPU’s Idris Beauregard, who leads the needle collection pilot, credited the program’s initial successes to listening to and working with local communities.

“If our goal is to create and maintain a safe, livable community for everyone, it’s our duty to engage harder-to reach-populations,” he said.

The public utility responded to more than 1,000 complaints regarding needles, including needles around schools and playgrounds.

“With me, being a father of two children, that’s where it really hit home,” Beauregard said. “This is not just a drug problem, it’s a community problem.”

OPINION: It’s time to incentivize needle cleanup in Seattle

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Thousands of needles cleaned up off streets of Seattle