The Berkeley Needle Exchange (Giveaway) hands out over 11,000 needles each week. They will give anyone that walks in 600 needles, no exchange required. This must stop. A one for one exchange must occur, or we will be swimming in dirty syringes.
Working to reduce troublesome diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C is great. But, make sure you are not creating another problem in the process.
Needles wash up on coastal beaches every year by the hundreds, likely many more than that.
Decriminalize possession of syringes so that IV drug users will not be afraid to carry them to a true needle exchange.
Open safe injection sites so that IV drug users can medicate themselves in a safe place where they can get other services and their needles can be secured.
Click on the words above “Can we please have a beach without needles & human waste?” to see this entire post.
Recently while visiting the east shore of San Francisco Bay in Berkeley as I attempt to understand where the dirty syringes I find all over the beaches in West Marin come from each winter, I came upon this image.
This young mother had brought her son to enjoy the waves.
He is a beautiful young boy. He is also autistic.
His mother’s family took his sister and the rest of the family to Hawaii on vacation.
They did not want him to join them. Which broke his mother’s heart.
He so Looooooves the feeling of water on him.
He would stand as the tiny waves crashed into him, smiling like the giant star he is as each buttery hand washed over him. His smile beaming.
Occasionally the water would knock him down and his mother would rush over and help him up if he was unable to right himself.
I watched with swelling heart for a few minutes. He was in complete bliss.
Slowly I approached his mother and explained that this beach was often covered with raw sewage, needles, condoms and other unhealthy items.
I held up a plastic water bottle with the several dirty syringes I had just picked up from this tiny sliver of sand adjacent to West Frontage Road, itself adjacent to Southbound 80 near Ashby Avenue in Berkeley CA.
She sighed and ran to help her son up from the toxic water.
Again his smile shone like a thousand blazing suns as he relished the feeling of the water caressing him.
How blessed I am to live where I do, so close to dozens of beaches mostly free of used hypodermic syringes and bags of human shit tossed from homeless individuals living in their cars alongside a roaring ribbon of pavement and cars busy taking people god knows where to make the world a better place with the likes, instagrams, ubers, airbnb’s and all manner of progress(?).
I shared with his mother how to get to one of the brilliant beaches I am blessed to live near, giving her a map with directions. I hope she brings him there soon.
She thanked me for my efforts and for sharing with her a beach to take her son to that is not covered with human waste and dirty needles.
Click the words above “Impact of homeless camps in Berkeley CA – Sea Breeze…” to see this entire post.
Below images show the areas along West Frontage Road near University and Ashby Avenues
On this day I happened to arrive as CalTrans crews removed items after posting a a notice to clear out of the area and take your items with you.
The law requires 72 hour notice, I was told the people squatting here had been given a week, and still they did not vacate the premises.
Click on an image to see a larger version, then click on the dimensions above image name to see it full sized.
If you’d like to educate yourself about one of the major causes of the opioid crisis depicted below in images, read the following articles: