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 42 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;
- Give the community a place to log their finds.
Total NIPS Finds for Reporting Period 42
For reporting period 42 (5/9/2016-6/9/16), 229 needles found in public spaces were logged. This count includes citizen reports, community group reports and reports by City workers. 41 needles were found by citizens and community groups; the other 188 needles were found by City workers.
Significant Finds For Reporting Period
- A two-year-old found a needle while playing at Cowell Beach. (1204N)
- A citizen cleaning with a group called Save Our Shores found a needle. (1208N)
- City workers found needles along the levee on a daily basis. (May 2016 City Workers Needle Log)
- City workers found needles in various public restrooms.
Hot Spot NIPS Locations for Reporting Periods 42:
- San Lorenzo River/Levee
- San Lorenzo Park
- Harvey West Friendship Garden
- Depot Park
NIPS Finds In The Past Year:
Overview of Last 42 Months
- Total Number of Needles Reported Found: 10,832
- Average Number of Needles Found Per Month: 257
- 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 & Saf Code § 121349.3, the County Health Officer is required to compile a report on its syringe 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.
Is it true that at the needle exchange gives 10 or more needles per every 1 that is returned? If that’s true is there any way to change it, maybe if they had to return the old to get the new they wouldn’t be throwing them all over the place. I was shocked to see the numbers of how many needles have been found in Santa Cruz, I have lived here my entire life and it is so sad to see the negative changes that are happening here. Thank you to Take Back Santa Cruz for all that you do
“In a bid to protect the most self-destructive elements in society, San Francisco has put everyone else’s health at risk by eliminating the exchange half of the bargain.” Debra J. Saunders – San Francisco Chronicle columnist