By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - In response to an anonymous post about finding used syringes in the area of Saint Joseph Street and Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach Police Chief Chris Spivey says the Town has already been taking steps to address the issue.
The anonymous post stated, "It's starting to get out of control, only a matter of time before a kid gets stuck by a used needle. CB has a huge Heroin problem that needs to be addressed publicly."
Spivey responded Monday May 8th stating, "While the community of Carolina Beach is special and unique in so many ways, we still share some similarities and demographics with our neighboring communities. One of the demographics we share with the entire south eastern portion of NC is the sad and tragic reality of addiction. Opioid addiction has received much attention over the past couple of years. This is an issue that is both complex and shrouded in stigma. If there was a simple and easy fix, it would have occurred decades ago. I believe some starting points are public education, awareness and recognizing that numerous forms of addiction are rooted in mental illness. While those who commit serious crimes associated with drug trafficking and distribution should be prosecuted to the fullest measure, it is important to remember that the problem of addiction is not one that can simply be solved by arrest. I believe it is time to explore other options that sets our community up for success. In the world of substance abuse, success does not come easy or frequently. When positive change occurs, it changes individuals, families and communities. I look forward to deeper discussions regarding this topic at the May 23rd Town Council Workshop."
The May 23rd meeting starts at 9am at Town Hall in the Council meeting room, 1121 North Lake Park Blvd.
Earlier this month the Town announced they had installed a box in a public rest room on the Boardwalk for people to dispose of used needles.
Chief Spivey explained on May 3rd, "We have installed a sharps safety depository unit in the men’s boardwalk rest room. We anticipate a second collection box to be installed in the females rest room soon. In the recent past, discarded needles have been located in that area. Our concern is for public health. Because these types of hazardous waste were discarded without due regard for the public, a rapid and safe remedy warranted action. Individuals use hypodermics for both legitimate and illicit use. Keeping these hazards away from our pubic and town environmental workers is paramount. This type of collection container is only for disposal and does not in any way dispense hypodermic devices."
In North Carolina, more than 1,000 people die each year from prescription opioid and heroin overdoses. One out of four autopsies performed by state medical examiners are on those whose deaths are from drug overdose. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, drug overdose deaths, driven largely by prescription drug overdose deaths, are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States surpassing motor vehicle crashes.
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the number of drug overdose deaths had steadily increased for more than a decade.