To: Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the Santa Cruz City Council
Please find the Take Back Santa Cruz Needles Solutions Team Needles in Public Spaces (NIPS) report attached. This is a log of citizen reports of needles found in public spaces for the last 40 months. The log was created as a reference so that someone can use the data to:
- Keep the County and City aware that there is an ongoing problem;
- Determine if the needles found in public spaces are increasing or decreasing;
- Provide data to the City and County so that “hot spot” patterns can be identified for City/County cleanup; and to
- Give the community a place to log their finds.
Total NIPS Finds for Reporting Period 40
For reporting period 40 (3/9/2016-4/8/16), 206 needles found in public spaces were logged. This count includes citizen reports, community group reports and reports by City workers. 33 needles were found by citizens and community groups; the other 173 needles were found by City workers.
Significant Finds For Reporting Period
- A citizen found a bloody syringe in the women’s restroom at Grant Street Park (1159N);
- A citizen found a needle in the planter outside of a coffee shop in the Seabright neighborhood (1160N);
- A needle was found in a car that had been broken into (1165N);
- Help the World, a group founded by a nine-year-old girl, found needles at Garfield Park and Main Beach (1168N, 1169N)
Hot Spot NIPS Locations for Reporting Periods 40:
- San Lorenzo River/Levee
- San Lorenzo Park
- Depot Park restrooms
- Main Beach
NIPS Finds In The Past Year:
2/9/2015-3/8/15: 340 (Note: Quantity increased by a conservative estimate of 200 after the Needles Team obtained additional information concerning City needle finds through Public Records Act Request.)
1/9/15 – 2/8/15: 187
Overview of Last 40 Months
- Total Number of Needles Reported Found: 10,413
- Average Number of Needles Found Per Month: 260
- Source of needles: Again, based on the frequent presence of other items from the SSP such as water capsules, cookers, and alcohol wipes, we conclude that a significant number of needles found in public spaces likely originated from the SSP (and obviously were not returned for exchange.) However, there are other needles being found that do not match those given out by the SSP, so there are presumably other sources of discarded needles.
- Needle Sticks: We have confirmed 8 cases of people being stuck by needles (including 4 children).
County Health Officer’s Biennial Report Due
Pursuant to Cal Health & Safety Code § 121349.3, the County Health Officer is required to make public a report on its syringe exchange program every two years. A meeting allowing public comment – with ample notice – is also required.
It has now been over two years since the last report and the last Board of Supervisors meeting with public comment. Please advise as to when the public should expect the latest report, as well as be permitted to comment on the Syringe Services Program.