A needle sweep in downtown Vernon on Saturday resulted in about 100 drug needles found in various areas.
A group of volunteers led by Ty Herold, who manages the Facebook page “Okanagan Community Watch,” found them in gravel, under leaves, in building foundations and in sewer grates.
“We dropped them off at noyfss (North Okanagan Youth & Family Services Society.) They have a back door there with a big bucket. We had about a dozen sharps containers, all about a half full. We got about a hundred needles.”
Herold says scoured several areas of the downtown.
“The back alleys downtown, they were completely nasty. We removed some of the sewer grates down in the core there to expose what I can only explain as junkie needle soup. There were sharps in the irrigation tubes of the plants along the main highway through town.”
He says it didn’t take much effort to find discarded needles.
“They’re hidden in piles of leaves, along the creek bed, under gravel, in trees in holes in all the building foundations. yeah, downtown was pretty rough. Polson Park itself was actually completely clean.”
However, they did find about dozen needles along the train tracks just on the outskirts of the park.
He’s not surprised by what they found now that the snow has melted.
Herold says he’s not sure if having more needle containers spread around the city will work, saying he’s heard of people finding needles in washroom garbage cans when there’s a container just a few feet away.
He’s hopeful a needle exchange program could be adopted in Vernon that could see fewer needles left around.
But Herold says if people don’t care, they don’t care.