Friday, August 26, 2016
Number of Needle Disposal Boxes on San Francisco's Streets?
Two homeless folks were shooting up, sitting on the sidewalk and against the wall of the main library on Hyde Street near Market a few weeks back as I walked to the farmers' market at UN Plaza.
Near them were about fifteen used needles, most not capped, strewn about the Muni bus shelter under the thick and leafy branches of large trees.
Concerned about the potential of someone or a dog getting jabbed and maybe infected with HIV or hepatitis from stepping on a syringe point, I called 311 and requested a Department of Public Works crew come out and properly dispose of the needles.
I also got in touch with my friend Eileen Loughran, who runs the needle exchange program for the Department of Public Works, to ask for the locations of permanent disposal syringe boxes on the streets.
Were any located at the library or near it? Turns out the answer is no and there are only 11, eleven, such boxes in San Francisco.
That is not enough to aid drug users to properly dispose of their works after injecting themselves with white powders.
Of course, I'd like the City to open injection rooms as one method of reducing the number of syringes on the streets and decreasing overdoses and other health complications, while also engaging with drug users and working with them on harm reduction.
Is San Francisco ready to end the denial about injection drug users and their habits? Can we move toward opening safe injection sites and install more disposal boxes around town?
Only if our elected officials feel pressure from constituents. Until then, watch where you step around the main library and all of Civic Center.