Pueblo residents tired of finding dirty needles

Pueblo residents tired of finding...

PUEBLO, Colo. - Brian Simmering and his daughter were taking a walk behind the Southside Walmart.

"She asked me, 'What is that?' and I said, 'Honey, that looks like a needle," Simmering said.

He found himself then explaining why the needles were on the ground.

"It's not something I really wanted her exposed to, or wanted her to learn about just yet," Simmering said.

Simmering says he's seen more needles around Pueblo.

"In the last year it seems like it's gotten worse," Simmering said.

Another Pueblo woman found needles Sunday night near the Southside Lowe's.

She said she called the police to alert them to what she had seen.

The Pueblo Police Department told KRDO NewsChannel 13 while they can take the call, they're not the ones responsible for picking them up.

The Pueblo City County Health Department said it's not their responsibility either, but said it's up to the property owner to dispose of the needles properly.

"I think the problem is getting worse," Dr. Michael Nerenberg said. "I think people are still using."

Nerenberg helps run the needle exchange program in Pueblo, which allows drug users to get free, clean needles to help stop the transmission of diseases.

While thousands of needles are given out, users bring back about 75 percent of the dirty ones.

But Nerenberg knows, there's addicts who don't dispose of the needles properly.

"If we can get off the shoestring, and get some better funding and be more open often and get some better volunteers involved, we'd like to be able to go do sweeps around," Nerenberg said.

The needles, leave Simmering uneasy about what his daughter might find, when he's not around.

"I don't want something to happen to my daughter, and I don't want it to be something we have to worry about," Simmering said.

The Pueblo City County Health Department warns not to touch needles.

Instead, dispose of them properly by wearing gloves, using tongs to pick up the needles, and placing them in a hard container, with a lid. After the lid is taped it's safe to throw the container with the needle inside into a trash bin.

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