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Box of dozens of used syringes turned over to Homer police

September 28, 2018

HOMER, Alaska (AP) — A Homer-area resident turned over to police a box containing more than 100 used syringes collected on the small peninsula jutting from the town, police said.

An employee of North Star Terminal handed over the syringes earlier this month that were picked up over a few days on the Homer Spit, the Homer News reported Thursday.

It’s common for people to dump syringes at the sites where they use intravenous drugs, Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said. City employees also often find syringes in public restrooms, he said.

Robl advises people to use caution when finding needles because used syringes carry the risk of spreading communicable diseases like hepatitis and HIV. People can contact Homer police if they come across used syringes and are not comfortable with picking them up.

“It’s easy to mishandle these darn things and have an inadvertent needle stick,” Robl said. “That’s something that can have bad consequences for you.”

The safest way to transport syringes is to put them in hard plastic containers and tape the lid shut, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

While police do not have an accurate measure of drug use in Homer, Robl said the number of users seems to have increased during the summer.

“We saw an uptick of syringes around here in the summer — I would say a pretty good increase,” Robl said. “I fully expect it to get down to our local user levels in the next couple of weeks.”

The Exchange organization swaps used syringes for clean ones. It offers exchanges at the South Peninsula Hospital Training Center in Homer on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

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Information from: The Homer (Alaska) News, http://www.homernews.com

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