New York City will be spending more than three-quarters of a million dollars a year once it hires workers to clean up needles left behind in public spaces by addicts and more staff to clean out bins where New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is asking addicts to drop their used needles.
In mid-2018, de Blasio unveiled a program in which needle disposal bins were placed in several parks throughout the Bronx.
After six months, the program has shown little success. About 60,000 needles were recovered from parks and public spaces as opposed to only 7,000 left in the 44 containers placed for that purpose, the New York Post reported. That’s a rate of roughly 11 percent.
To address that failure, the city will be spending more money, the Post reported in a separate article.
Six workers will be hired to clean up the needles at a yearly cost of $350,000. They will be “dedicated to routinely canvassing and cleaning high-volume areas” where addicts go.
But that’s not all. The city will fork over an additional $450,000 a year for mental health workers to clean out the disposal boxes addicts have not yet been convinced to use. The Post said these workers will also be “providing life-saving services and connections to treatment and other care” to the addicts.
Bill de Blasio’s ‘Job Creation’ Means Hiring People to Pick Up Junkies’ Needles From NYC Parks
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) December 30, 2018
One addict in St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx told the Post that the boxes were a de facto sign from the city that it was OK to use the parks as a place to do drugs.
“They’re giving permission with that box,” Javier Martinez said. “Kids don’t come here. They don’t build anything for them like a playground. If they don’t want us doing drugs, why are they putting the boxes here?”
When the Post bounced that comment off the mayor on Friday, he replied, “The parks are not an OK place for people to use drugs.”
“I don’t accept it from a health point of view or from a policing point of view. We are going to change that reality very, very quickly,” he said.
He also said that despite the apparent failure of the needle disposal program “it makes sense to try it.”
The program was “a terrible idea from Day One,” said Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates.
“Instead of addressing the dangerous public-safety conditions this activity creates, the city has turned our parks into shooting galleries,” Croft said.
Area resident Michael Joseph said the program to dump needles in the parks made “no sense.”
“I’ve lived here since 1993 and never heard of the city doing anything like this,” he said. “Why say it’s OK to do drugs where the children play?”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.