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 47 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 47
For reporting period 47 (10/9/2016-11/8/16), 381 needles found in public spaces were logged. This count includes citizen reports, community group reports and reports by City workers. 63 needles were found by citizens and community groups; the other 318 needles were found by City workers.
Girl Falls on Needle at Ocean View Park
- A young girl fell on a needle at OceanView Park. It does not appear that she was stuck. (1368N).
Significant Finds For Reporting Period 47
- City workers found 60 needles at West Cliff and Manor;
- City workers found 56 needles at Ocean Street (Denny’s);
- City workers found 55 needles at West Cliff Trestle;
- A four-year-old found a needle on Water Street (1378N);
- A seven-year-old found a needle on Main Beach (1375N);
- A twelve-year-old found a needle on the way to school (1361N);
- A citizen found a needle in the Toys R Us Parking lot (1360N);
- A citizen found a needle in front of the Warriors Stadium (1371N);
- Needles were found in other parts of the County, including Felton (1366N), Aptos (1370N & 1374N), and Scotts Valley (1372N)
Hot Spot NIPS Locations for Reporting Periods 47:
- Neary Lagoon;
- Cliff Street Walkway;
- Depot Park;
- Harvey West;
- Arana Gulch;
- Beach Street restrooms.
NIPS Finds In The Past Year:
Overview of Last 47 Months
- Total Number of Needles Reported Found: 12,378
- Average Number of Needles Found Per Month: 263
- 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 10 cases of people being stuck by needles (including 5 children) in the last 47 months.
Needles in the Media
10/21/16: Scotts Valley Press Banner: Dangerous Used Needles Found in Felton: http://www.goldenstatenewspapers.com/press_banner/dangerous-used-needles-found-in-felton/article_b087b0c2-97c5-11e6-aa89-a7cf778fc42a.html
10/22/16: Santa Cruz Sentinel: Waste Disposal Program Not Aimed at Local Pharmacies: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/health/20161021/santa-cruz-drug-needle-waste-disposal-program-not-aimed-at-local-pharmacies
- The County must operate a true 1:1 exchange to ensure that no needles from the Syringe Services Program are ending up in our public spaces. Former SSP clients whom we’ve interviewed stated that they regularly received clean needles without exchanging dirty ones. Furthermore, discarded needles are regularly found with other items from the SSP, such as sterile water capsules.
- The County must bring itself into compliance with the Health and Safety Code and the Brown Act by giving proper, timely notice and an opportunity to the public to comment on the Syringe Services Program and its biennial report. The public is currently being denied that opportunity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4LJcnNUg8s&feature=youtu.be
- The County must allow the public to comment on the SSP without censorship of criticism.
- Consistent with its goal to reduce the transmission of disease, the County should establish a fund for needle stick victims who do not have insurance to cover their treatment.