More than 36,000 needles were found in public spaces in Santa Cruz, according to a report by the group Take Back Santa Cruz’s “Needles Solutions Team.”
The group released the “Needles in Public Spaces Report” which found that more than 36,727 needles were left in public spaces between December 2012 and September 2019 according to reports from the public.
It also said that 15 people have reportedly been stuck by needles during that 6 year period. One woman was allegedly stuck by a needle that had been dumped on her front yard back in June.
The report also stated that over 700 needles were recovered in just one day during a clean up of the Pogonip.
The report said that a “significant” number of recovered needles were from the Syringe Services Program; however, not all the needles found appeared to have been originally distributed by the SSP.
The team recommends that the county operate a true 1:1 exchange in order to prevent needles from the SSP ending up in public spaces.
The team also supports the City of Santa Cruz’s acceptance of additional sharp waste kiosks, but wants the city to consult neighbors before putting them in their area.
They also believe that the county should not permit a secondary syringe exchange.