Central Coast KION reports on 224 needles found in public spaces (NIPS) for July 2016.
Take Back Santa Cruz Needle Solutions Team update to City, County and local media:
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 44 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 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 44
For reporting period 44 (7/9/2016-8/8/16), 224 needles found in public spaces were logged. This count includes citizen reports, community group reports and reports by City workers. 84 needles were found by citizens and community groups; the other 140 needles were found by City workers.
Tenth Confirmed Needle Stick Injury – Instructor at Jr. Guards Competition on Main Beach
- An instructor from an outside Jr. Guards program stepped on a needle near lifeguard tower 2 at Main Beach during the NorCal Competition last week. This is the second needle stick injury at a Jr. Guards event this year. A 15-year-old with Twin Lakes Jr. Guards was stuck previously. Needles were also found by Jr. Guards on other occasions. https://takebacksantacruz.org/needles-public-spaces-report-june-2016/
- Thank you to Deputy City Manager Scott Collins for being proactive and transparent regarding this incident. We applaud the City’s ongoing efforts in combating what is really a County-wide problem.
- Shout-out to the Parks & Rec Department for immediately adopting our recommendation that crews hand-rake the areas under lifeguard towers (where the sand-sifting machine cannot reach).
Pharmacies Selling Syringes Without a Prescription in Santa Cruz Down to One
- As of August 1, 2016, Westside Pharmacy no longer sells syringes without a prescription. This brings the number of pharmacies selling needles without a prescription in the city of Santa Cruz down to one, and a total of six in the entire County.
Significant Finds For Reporting Period 44
- A man stepped on a needle at 26th Avenue Beach, but fortunately the needle was capped and he was uninjured. (1269N)
- A woman found a needle in her backyard. (1265N)
- A needle was found on the walkway to the Boardwalk (1266N)
- A man doing his grocery shopping on Clares Street in Capitola found two needles. (1271N)
- Needles were found on the 500/600 block of Ocean Street on four different occasions. (1259N, 1276N, 1277N, 1290N).
Hot Spot NIPS Locations for Reporting Periods 44:
- San Lorenzo River/Levee
- San Lorenzo Park
- Neary Lagoon
- Harvey West Park
- Depot Park
- 500/600 block of Ocean Street
Overview of Last 44 Months
- Total Number of Needles Reported Found: 11,322
- 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 10 cases of people being stuck by needles (including 5 children).
Needles in the Media
8/6/16 Santa Cruz Sentinel: Instructor Stuck By Needle During Santa Cruz Junior Guard Competition
- 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 currently being denied that opportunity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4LJcnNUg8s&feature=youtu.be
- 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.
Best regards – Needles Solutions Team
Attachments: NIPS workbook, City Parks & Rec needles log for July 2016, Photos