30 Days to Safer Neighborhood: Drug Littering - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

30 Days to Safer Neighborhood: Drug Littering

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CLARKSBURG -

We've seen how drugs impact not only the user but also family and friends.

But what about complete strangers?

Across the country and in West Virginia, used needles and drug litter can be found in neighborhoods, parking lots, and even hotel rooms.

12 News' Gretchen Ross talked with local enforcement to find out where needles are spotted and how to avoid coming in contact with them.

"I walk across the street to take my dog and I looked down on the ground and I've seen needles laying down there. They look like people have used," said David Ferrell, Clarksburg resident.

For the past 13 years Clarksburg resident David Ferrell has lived off of Route 19 with his dog Daisy Mae. Ferrell said the past two summers he's spotted needles and other drug litter around the complex.

"I just back off from them. I don't bother them," Ferrell said.

While Ferrell said he didn't think to report what he saw, but worries if needles are found again what could happen.

"Because I'm afraid they will go out there, some of the kids out there you know and pick them up and get stuck with them," Ferrell said.

That's exactly what Clarksburg and Bridgeport Police don't want to happen.

"We advise people not to touch them or handle them in anyway, and if it is a business establishment where they are located to notify the manager immediately, and to have them call the police," said Bridgeport Police Chief John Walker.

Walker said they get about half dozen calls a year from residents and businesses reporting needles found inside hotels, restaurant bathrooms, and sidewalks.

Clarksburg Police has also received calls reporting needles found in neighborhoods and behind stores near dumpsters.

"The world has changed so much you know. Individuals are addicted to narcotics. When the need strikes them, They'll just do it anywhere, shoot up just about anywhere," Walker said.

Walker and the Harrison County Health Department said to immediately go to the emergency room if you do come in contact with a needle to avoid contracting Hepatitis or HIV.

"There are a variety of tests they will have to run and instructions they will give you with precautionary measures," Walker said.

Health department officials said not only will tests be done after initial contact, but also at three,six, and nine months since that is usually how long it takes certain diseases to show up in the bloodstream.

With more information out there, Walker hopes to work with neighborhood associations and businesses to eliminate the issue.

"We want to educate folks on what to do. If they do come across a dirty needle. We had one found this week. We actually found one in the restroom of a restaurant. They called us and we came out and took possession of it," Walker said.

"If I see one now, I know what to do. Before I didn't pay much attention to it. I will call the cops or come in here and tell them here in the office," Ferrell said.