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Get Tough on Needles 

Editor:

I took a walk with my toddler on the sidewalk last week and saw a used needle on the ground in front of us. She is at an age where she will pick up anything laying on the ground and play with it. Luckily, I saw it in advance and was able to avoid a terrible situation. The city of Eureka is overwhelmed by the intravenous drug use and the improper disposal of needles in public areas ("Flashpoint," Aug. 2).

Being in an unsafe environment makes myself and others think seriously about leaving the community. If Eureka wants to retain its citizens and increase tourism, the issue of needle litter needs to be addressed. Whether it is increasing funding and locations of needle exchanges or creating a clean up task force, community leaders need to take action to alleviate this problem.

This is a widespread public danger. The lack of effective policy has caused dangerous pollution in the parks, waterways and sidewalks of the city. Putting the people at risk because of a lack of policy making is unacceptable.

There needs to be more safe disposal sites for used needles. The drug user population is a major demographic in Eureka. Inaction puts the environment and the people of Eureka at risk. While open drug use is not a pleasant aspect of Eureka, it is a defining one. Lack of services is a major oversight that damages the well-being of the community.

This issue is not going to magically disappear. The government in Eureka needs to take this issue seriously and get more waste disposal sites around the area. It is not fair to put citizens at risk for health issues because of their refusal to directly deal with the problems resulting from local drug use.

Julie List, Eureka

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