Augusto Beato, CEO of Portland SEO, expressed confidence that the six new syringe disposal drop sites in North and Southeast Portland could curb illegal dumping of needles.
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"Syringe disposal has become a health concern in Portland," said Beato. "Expanding safe syringe disposal sites will help the city address the issue."
It was reported that metro crews recently picked up more than 1,500 needles over three days in Sullivan's Gulch along the highway. Multnomah County is partnering with the city, TriMet, Metro and Portland Business Alliance to install the drop boxes in places such as Lents and St. Johns. The project will start with three sites that are expected to cost about $200,000. They are expected to be in place by the end of spring.
Those sites will be the Multnomah County Bridge Shop, 1403 S.E. Water Ave.; Fire station 11, 5707 S.E. 92nd Ave.; and Fire Station 22, 7205 N. Alta St.
Community members and neighborhood associations advocated for fire stations to host the drop boxes because they are well-lit and staffed 24 hours a day.
The metro area already has some syringe drop sites. There are two free 24-hour boxes located on the west side walkway below the Burnside Bridge and below the west approach of the Steel Bridge. Many Multnomah County library branches and Portland parks also have small containers for needles in public bathrooms.
The need for more syringe containment facilities has grown as the opioid epidemic has grown. People who cannot access prescribed opioid medications often switch to injecting heroin. According to the Multnomah County Health Department, the number of heroin users who switched started with an addiction to prescribed pills grew from 45 percent in 2011 to 51 percent in 2016.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
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