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October 12, 2007

Comments

Ron Newman

As I said the last time this came up -- why not just require each pharmacy that sells the needles to accept them for disposal? That makes more sense than a single city-operated central disposal site, and doesn't cost the city anything.

Born Here

Good point Ron, kind of like motor oil. Places that sell it should take back the old product. It never seems to go that way, and as we know, the needles and oil usually ends up in the sewer.

What hypocrites

What we should be doing is asking our elected officials to work toward repealing this law. One portion of this law makes needles accessible and affordable, and the other portion discusses disposal of all of the needles purchased through this law. All of this law really did was create hundreds of new addicts in Somerville and elsewhere. Most people using needles for lawful drugs already have access to a disposal system. The legislature is so concerned with not spreading HIV or Hepatitis that they don't seem to care how many heroin addicts they create, who they can then save from HIV or Hepatitis!
But Heaven help you if you light up a cigarette or order a donut!!

Ron Newman

If you read the article (or even the subhead) at all carefully, you'll see that most of the needles in Somerville trash are from diabetics. Since they have to visit a pharmacy anyway to stock up on insulin, why not drop off the used needles there at the same time?

Grog29

I told you all before that the solution will be a $.05
deposit for each needle. Users return them and get a
share of the deposit (half the deposit for credited for the purchase of new needles, and half to the pharmacy for disposal.

So basically that's a user charge of 2.5 cents per needle.
The users should pay for their disposal.

Case closed.

Newman:

Mr. Newman,
Perhaps you should research this law or watch the tape of the meeting, as I have, before you give us your enlightened opinion. Noone disputes the fact that the needles being found on the streets are coming from addicts, and police statistics have verified that these needles, and the number of addicts, has tripled since this law was passed.

Ron Newman

I'm going strictly by what the above Somerville News article says:

"Officials at the hearing said needles disposed by drug addicts constitute a small percentage of the equation. Of the 1.5 million needles disposed every year in Somerville trash, 1.4 million are generated by diabetics."

Is the article reported inaccurately?

Let's not kid ourselves

I am sure it is true that the largest number of neddles disposed of each year are from legal users, such as diabetics. But, these are not the needles being disposed of on the streets of our city. We have always had diabetics, etc... in the city, but have not until recenly experienced the problem of needles in parks and on the streets. People who use needles legally have always had a method of disposing of them. They also, for the most part, do not pose the same health risk that needles from addicts do. Let's not use the diabetic community to justify helping addicts make their drug use more convenient.

Ron Newman

Needles thrown in the garbage, by diabetics or anyone else, endanger the people who pick up the trash each week. So it's in everyone's interest to find a better solution than that.

cabbie

"All of this law really did was create hundreds of new addicts in Somerville and elsewhere"

"...police statistics have verified that these needles, and the number of addicts, has tripled since this law was passed..."

I call bullshit. First of all it flies in the face of human nature. People choose to do or not do heroin with no regard for legality. Yet you believe that this same subset of humanity cared that needles were illegal and that kept them from doing heroin? So some how you think now that needles are legal scads of Somervillians have all rushed out and become junkies? Further, most people start down the road to becoming a junkie by snorting or smoking heroin. They move to needles when they can no longer get a satisfying fix. Heroin doesn't usually begin with the spike. It always ends with the spike.

Statistics can be misread. I'd say legal needles are just revealing how many junkies there really are in the area. This is an epidemic and I can't believe it's continued so long. The "re-emergence" of smack started here around the late 80s!

Try to pay attention.....

"Needles thrown in the garbage, by diabetics or anyone else, endanger the people who pick up the trash each week."
Again, please do some research rather than simply repeating the company line. While needle sticks can indeed pose a threat to trash company employees, the companies themselves have publicly stated that it is a rare occurrence.
Simply put, making it illegal to dispose of needles in your trash is completely unenforceable, making the law totally ridiculous. And, as was mentioned above, people using needles for lawful purposes have disposal mechanisms provided for them (I know this, as a family member has used needles for legal medical purposes).
And look at police statistics, heroin use has spiked in this city since this law was passed. Snorting heroin is not as dangerous as injecting, and before this law, most addicts did snort it because needles were difficult to get. Once they became as easy to obtain as a pack of cigarettes, more and more people used them. Hence the spike in heroin injection use, and overdose. So this law creates a place for legal needle users to dispose of their needles, despite already having such means, but what it also did was make needles accessible to everyone. This was done to assuage the HIV/Aids lobby who are more concerned with HIV/Aids than with creating new drug users - the head of the Health Department said as much during this meeting. Where is Denise Provost, who about a year ago, created a huge stir because she was finding needles on her street, after passing this law!!
This law also demonstrates what's wrong with Massachusetts. We pass a law requiring kiosks to be placed at multiple locations across each city or town, and immediately fund them through a state funding source. NOONE suggested asking needle manufacturers or drugstores to even help to pay the cost for this program, until a citizen had to stand up at the meeting and suggest it! Our state legislators spend their time thinking up things to do that will cost the taxpayers more money, and can't even be enforced. What a joke!

Where are they now?

Did either Denise Provost or Pat Jehlen even attend this public meeting? Did they take part in trying to find a solution to a problem they tried to create?

Objective observer

Our representatives are uncreative individuals of mediocre intelligence, I'm afraid. It could be due to the lead paint in MA.

Susan

To his credit, Tim Tommey was at the hearing.

Bill

I'd love to see some hard statistics proving there has actually been an increase in the number of addicts or just increase in the rate at which addicts go through needles now that they don't have to hold onto them until they go dull / have to borrow someone else's.

The costs to the public for HIV far, far outweigh those of needle disposal.

I agree that needle deposit and disposal programs need to be looked into, as addicts aside, you've got 1.4 million needles a year coming from diabetics, and out of those 1.4 million, you've got a really good chance of some being tainted with something. Hep B, C, HIV, etc.

Philip Fitzgerald

That staged photo erases any credibility the story may contain.

jjiff

I doubth that people who legitimately use needles for a medical purpose will lug them to a kiosk. I had to inject myself daily for a time several years ago, and the disposal instructions on the box of needles were very clear and reasonable, I thought. As soon as you use the needle, you are supposed to drop it into a bleach bottle partially filled with a bleach solution. When the bleach bottle gets full of needles, you tightly put on the lid, and throw out the bottle in the trash. This doesn't seem as if it poses much of a public health risk, but leaving needles lying around your house until you can cart them back to a pharmacy or to a kiosk seems more dangerous. Kids, pets, visitors can accidentally come in contact with the needles before they are disposed of.

I'm not opposed to trying out a kiosk, I guess, but I don't really think it will alleviate the problem of needles on the streets. And I don't think diabetics or other people with medical reasons for using needles should be made to blame for the needles on the street. Their disposal of needles is not endangering the public.

Unrealistic

Does anyone really believe that an addict who has just injected this "junk" into his/her body, considering the state they are in after this injection, are rally going to be concerned about finding a kiosk to dispose of the needle? Until people in this community start thinking realisticly about the problem that surrounds us, it will only continue to get worse.

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