Conductors on San Francisco Bay Area trains are warning riders about leftover hypodermic needles on seats and on the floor as the number of transient drug users in the city continues to grow.
This morning in San Francisco, BART conductor on the PA: “Please look around you for needles before you sit down. There’s at least one needle in car 1551 and there may be others. Thank you.”— Caroline O'Donovan (@ceodonovan) July 26, 2018
One woman, Linda Quan, has already been subjected to the prick of a drug user's needle when she sat down on a San Francisco-bound BART train in May.
“When I felt that I got up and looked at what was poking me and I felt it and didn't know what it was and realized it was a syringe tip,” she told KRON4.
Quan had to get a hepatitis vaccine and must have her blood tested every three months until the end of 2019 to make sure she didn’t contract any diseases from the needle.
Apparently, the city spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to hand out around 400,000 syringes each month!
They do this to try and prevent health risks that drug users may face however, the health department estimates that they only get 246,000 of those needles back through access and disposal sites. That means all the leftover needles get thrown on the ground or in the trash and left on train seats where unsuspecting riders can get stabbed and contaminated by them.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, crews from the health department pick up around 8,000 needles on the streets each month while 13,000 needles are collected from homeless encampments.