Holyoke city council discusses concern for dirty stray needles - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Holyoke city council discusses concern for dirty stray needles

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HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

A growing number of dirty needles are appearing in Holyoke.

That was the issue city councilors discussed tonight and how they want to deal with it moving forward.

It’s a story Western Mass News first told you about a few weeks ago after more than 100 needles were found on a popular walking path near Kelly Elementary School.

Holyoke residents said they’ve seen large numbers of dirty needles all over the city and they’re sick of it. Now city councilors are stepping in.

Just two weeks ago, Western Mass News spoke with Radames Lopez, the Holyoke resident who found more than 100 needles on a path less than half a mile from Kelly Elementary School.

He worked with Tapestry Health and other volunteers to pick them up.

“It's a big issue to me, because a lot of the public places—that’s where they were using them and that's where they’re discarding it where the children are at, and it should get attention, that they need to do something about it,” said Lopez.

We caught up with him again today and he said that this is an ongoing problem and a huge safety concern for children.

“Thrown into a bush by the day care center, so a lot of people starting to notice.”

Holyoke city councilors want to create an ordinance that will require a group or business that hands out or exchanges needles to have their needles color coded so they can track them.

And it will ask Tapestry Health to make the dirty needle hotline available on the voicemail, website, and Facebook page.

Lopez said he's glad it's getting addressed and thinks advertising the hotline will be a good idea.

“My message for city councilors to really pay attention and attack the issue is to do something about it. I'm not saying get rid of the exchange, but do something about it. Monitor it better and advertise it better. A lot of people don’t know about it or the hotline number, so advertise it better.”

They will send their proposal to the public safety and ordinance committee to review. 

If you find a dirty needle, do not pick it up.

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