Two syringe drop boxes installed along Portland waterfront - KPTV - FOX 12

Two syringe drop boxes installed along Portland waterfront

Posted: Updated:
One of the two new syringe drop boxes along the Portland waterfront. One of the two new syringe drop boxes along the Portland waterfront.
One of the drop boxes, under the west end of the Burnside Bridge. One of the drop boxes, under the west end of the Burnside Bridge.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Two drop boxes for drug needles have just been installed along Portland’s waterfront, in an effort to get dirty syringes off downtown streets.

The boxes are part of a year-long pilot program called “Healthy Streets,” which also includes outreach to drug users and community awareness programs, and is a partnership between Multnomah County and the City of Portland.

According to the Multnomah County Health Department, the use of heroin and other injectable drugs is significantly on the rise in Portland.

“It’s an unfortunate reality, but again, that’s why this is so important,” Jerome Knox said of the program.

Knox told Fox 12 he’s been living on the streets in Portland for the last two months, and while he doesn’t use drugs he knows people who do.

“I have associations with people who collect their used syringes because they don’t want to risk it getting out on the ground, they don’t want to just toss it, they don’t want anybody else to get possibly stabbed or hurt by them,” he said.  “It’s a very good program, a necessity out here.”

The bins will be emptied twice a week by a biohazard contractor.  The city and county will split the cost of the program, estimated to be under $20,000 for the year.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Mirissia Reyes, who works in China Town.  “I hope it definitely doesn’t encourage people to use more because now they have a place to put their needles, but… if people are going to use it at least get it out of our community and public areas.”

The county also has a needle exchange program, which nearly 5,800 people used in 2014.  The program cuts down on the spread of disease and also allows staff to train people in how to use a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose.

So far, people have reported at least 255 overdose reversals to the county.

Copyright 2016 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation.  All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
FOX 12
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation, Portland, OR . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.