BELOIT, Wis. (WTVO) — A Rock County community battles a growing drug problem. Police say people have ditched needles in local parks–even near schools.
Stateline drug prevention groups have tips on what to do if you find a needle.
We spoke with volunteers this afternoon as they swept the streets. The volunteers stopped at three different locations in Beloit. They were able to collect a handful of needles.
“Community members have been finding them within the last few weeks,” said Debbie Fischer, the director for Youth 2 Youth 4 Change.
Used needles found littered in the Rock County community has become a growing problem.
“I think this is a problem everywhere, unfortunately, but Rock County is what’s considered a high-intensity drug trafficking area,” said Xandi Finn, the project coordinator for Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change. “A lot of times parks are mentioned or brought to our attention.”
In response, Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change and other organizations pinpointed a few areas of concern in Beloit.
“As soon as we hear something we try to schedule a scan to go out and see if there is anything we can do if we see the problem, and we just want people to keep reaching out and educating us so we can make sure our community is as safe as possible,” explained Finn.
Youth 2 Youth 4 Change also lent a hand. The groups work to promote drug prevention in the community.
“We’re trying really hard to educate people so this won’t be happening,” Fischer said.
“The part we really play in this is we prescribe prescription drug lock boxes, and other disposable things and doing Narcan training, and also our youth advocates educate younger youth about prescription drugs and other drugs as well.”
If you do come across a used needle, don’t touch it.
“Don’t pick them up because of fentanyl and also you never know hepatitis and other things that can be on the needles,” said Fischer.
“We definitely don’t want people just picking them up and holding them or handling them,” Finn added. “If they have gloves and a water bottle even, some type of hard plastic container that they feel comfortable disposing of them we would suggest they do that .”