Thousands of syringes on Scotland’s streets

A bloodied syringe found discarded at Glasgow's Union Place, just metres from the bustling Gordon StreetA BBC News report today on the thousands on needles and syringes that litter Scotland’s streets will no doubt cause alarm and consternation, though one must doubt if it will prompt any real action since to be effective this is massively expensive

More than 3,900 discarded needles were reported in nine of Scotland’s largest towns and cities over two years.

An excellent interactive map covering needle finds in the cities of Aberdeen, Cumbernauld, Dunfermline, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hamilton, Kirkcaldy, Livingston, and Paisley provides a particularly helpful overview but care must be taken to understand the limits of coverage and the inevitability that many other unreported needles are out there, still to be discovered and reported. The facility also reports that the totals listed here have been under-estimated due to the vagueness of many of the reports. Therefore ‘needles’ would be counted only as two, and a range of say 10 to 20 needles found would only be counted as 10.

The facility includes a link to Google street view which, though not specific, gives a good indication of the locations in which finds have been reported.

Acknowledging these needle finds can do much to improve the application of strategies at risk reduction, though counselling and drug support, safe injection premises, secure sharps bins and needle exchange services. Those who object, and it is not uncommon that strategies such as these do receive often vociferous objections, can take a look and think again.

The only doubt is whether funding of this shiny new interactive mapping system has improved needle retrieval, or simply diverted funds from other more immediate solutions?

see also Watch where you step in Dundee



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