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Needle Drop Boxes in Burlington?

A public safety committee is working with the Burlington Board of Health to explore the idea of public drop boxes for the safe disposal of used needles.
BURLINGTON, Vt. - It's unfortunately becoming common, people in Burlington finding needles in public places.

A public safety committee is working with the Burlington Board of Health to explore the idea of public drop boxes for the safe disposal of used needles.

Burlington residents said drug addiction is in plain sight.

"The house where I live is at a really popular intersection, and we used to have huge flower bushes, and we had to cut them down because there were too many syringes being thrown in," said Ariel Adelstein, Burlington resident.

"I found needles at the end of my street," said Kate Lopez, also a Burlington Resident.

Avery Hanson said his little brother came close to picking one up, "He ran up to my stepdad and said he found a needle. All I could think about when he found the needle was very dangerous circumstances, like Hepatitis, AIDS, HIV."

It wasn't too long ago when staff at Burlington's Fletcher Free Library discovered someone had been dumping hypodermic needles in the toilets, or a picnic shelter next to the Burlington Fishing Pier.

The restrooms are now closed for public use because of the same reason, but closing restrooms doesn't seem to be a long term solution.

"If we give them a safe place to put their needles, there will be fewer needles on our greenbelts, on the sidewalks, and in the parks," said Jane Knodell, City Councilor.

City Councilor Jane Knodell serves on the Public Safety Committee.

Members are exploring the option of drop boxes installed at places like public restrooms, and businesses.

"Other cities have done this so we're not making it up. We just did some research and that's one possibility to explore," Knodell said.

A study will be conducted this summer and fall to investigate the best locations, the cost, and who will be in charge of maintaining the boxes.

"Finding needles in the park, adults finding their children handling the needles, needles near schools. It's clearly a public health problem that needs to be addressed quite effectively," said Knodell.

There are mixed opinions about if drop boxes will be effective.

"I think it would be better than needles laying around on the street," said Lopez.

"Drop boxes in Burlington, I don't think so. It may solve the problem to an extent, but it's not going to stop people from just leaving them on the ground," said Hanson.

The committee hopes to bring this to city council in October.

They are also looking at the possibility of getting more city employee's involved in picking up the needles

The HowardCenter has a Safe Recovery Pick Up Program if you find a needle

Call: 802-488-6067.

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