Needle Mania

They seem to be everywhere. Needles, or carelessly discarded used syringes, are supposedly found everywhere, especially where children play, and on beaches.

There is no doubt that carelessly discarded used syringes get into some very inappropriate situations. Nor is there doubt that such syringes are very dangerous because of their potential to inoculate innocent victims with communicable diseases.

However, credible and relevant information about such problems is scarce. This certainly is not because there is any deficiency of information. It is because the credibility and even relevance of available information is limited by certain predictable patterns in how it is discussed on social media. It is impossible to know what to believe.

These are a few examples:

All homeless people are blamed for all carelessly discarded used syringes. Are we expected to believe that all homeless people inject illicit narcotics? Furthermore, are we expected to believe that everyone who injects illicit narcotics is homeless? There are presently only a few people in Felton who are homeless. If every homeless person here carelessly discarded used syringes, and no one else did, it would not be such a serious problem.

No one seems to know exactly how dangerous carelessly discarded used syringes are; but we all talk about them as if they are actively killing people. Has anyone here actually contracted a communicable disease from one? Has anyone died from such a disease? We know that communicable diseases are transmitted by promiscuity, but no one seems to be complaining about it.

The same few but very vocal people constantly find almost all of the carelessly discarded used syringes. I do not know many other people who have ever seen one. I work in landscapes in some of the most notorious neighborhoods in San Jose and Los Angeles, and occasionally in San Francisco and Oakland, but have NEVER found just ONE! Why is the problem so exclusive to those who enjoy bragging about about their scores?

Some of the pictures of carelessly discarded used syringes are simply ridiculous, and sometimes recycled. One such picture that was supposedly taken on the shore of the San Lorenzo River in springtime showed a syringe laying on freshly fallen autumn leaves of quaking aspen, which is not endemic here. Another showed a syringe laying on an outcropping of serpentinite, a geologic formation that is likewise not endemic here.