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Seattleites aghast at thousands of used drug needles littering parks, streets

By Suzanne Phan, Thursday, June 15th 2017

SEATTLE – The city of Seattle says it’s collected nearly 11,000 used syringes since February – in just four months. But, the city knows there are a whole lot more out there and people don’t know what to do with them.

“I felt really disappointed that I found another needle,” said Christina Klein.

It’s the second time Klein has come across a discarded drug needle in Queen Anne. Tuesday night, Klein and her daughter spotted one in front of a grocery store as they headed out to dinner.

“I felt good that she knew what it was and that she should avoid it,” said Klein.

Klein snapped a photo of the needle and posted it on a community bulletin board. Some say it’s a growing problem for the neighborhood.

“One of my friends said that she was at one of the parks, and her son found a needle,” said Mary Ellen Kennedy of Queen Anne.

“I think it’s terrible that it’s still here,” said Jessi Malsnee.

Ten days ago, Malsnee spotted a drug needle as she was walking her dog through Kinnear Park in Queen Anne.

“I wanted to pick it up. But I did not have the proper protective gear to do so. And I did not know where to call, either,” said Malsnee.

Seattle Public Utilities has a website dedicated to what people should do with needles and syringes. Plus, there’s a Seattle Public Utilities illegal dumping hotline citizens can call at 206-684-7587. While they don’t advise anyone to pick up a discarded needle unprotected., they launched a pilot program, of six needle collection boxes.

A city spokesman said a total of 10,745 syringes have been disposed and collected in boxes dating back to Februrary 2017.

But the city says the “Find It, Fix It “ app may be the fastest and most efficient way to deal with a used needle. Take a picture of it and fill out a request for the city to pick it up.

“It’s an app that I can download so I’m certainly going to do that,” said Malsnee.