The city of Asheville, North Carolina, a mid-size southern city straddling the French Broad River home to about 91k people awoke to a disturbing report. It was something you would expect in the blasted hellscapes of Detroit, Chicago, or other cities suffering from severe urban blight, crime, and poverty, not a prosperous growing city.
The local ABC affiliate channel 13 WLOS reported that an Asheville Mom, Jody Read was struggling to find someone to help with a clean-up at her high school daughter’s school bus stop… where she had found open syringes strewn on the grown.
An Asheville mother struggled to find someone to clean up used syringes her teenage daughter found at a school bus stop. https://t.co/EmnwKuAENt
— WLOS (@WLOS_13) February 4, 2022
Read told ABC13, that she had called upon the Asheville Police Department to pick them up but to no avail.
“I’m scared for the kids,” Read said. “Somebody could get hurt or exposed to diseases. It’s full of needles.”
Read explained that officials from the APD told her that officers don’t respond to calls for improperly disposed of needles.
“The reality is, when you have this type of call over a 911 call, when somebody has an emergency, we know what we’re going to have to do, unfortunately,” APD spokesperson Bill Davis said. 0“The good thing is, we have a couple of available resources.”
The City of Asheville Steps In To Handle Syringes
Following the report, the city of Asheville is working with the Western North Carolina Aids Project and Steady Collective to recover the needles dumped around the city.
“We know that hypodermic needle use is something that is constantly going on in our area,” Davis said. “With that, there’s probably going to be needles left in public areas. It’s something we’re constantly seeing and taking very seriously.” Apparently, nobody told Read though, she said she had no idea who would be cleaning up the needles. The WNCAP responded to the site and cleaned up the ten or so syringes and are continuing to do so.
“Probably about two to three times a week,” Raymond Velazquez, Harm Reduction Coordinator for WNCAP, said. “I think if we did have an increased amount of proper syringe disposal areas, I think we’d be able to help prevent as much syringe litter as there is.”
It’s a sad state of affairs when even our school bus stops aren’t safe, even in a city like Asheville.