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Gas station chain Sheetz installs anti-heroin lighting in bathrooms but addicts say it won't work

Posted at 3:27 PM, Dec 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-07 17:51:52-05

One gas station chain is shining the light on the heroin epidemic by changing up the look of one of its public restrooms.

Gas station restrooms continue to be a popular place for people to shoot-up, and Sheetz is making changes to keep a growing number of addicts from using them to get high.

Former addicts say gas station restrooms are commonly used because they are usually close by after they pick up their drugs, allowing them to quickly get high instead of waiting until they get home.

One Sheetz location is hoping blue lighting in the restroom will give heroin users the boot, after blood and heroin were found on a baby changing table inside a public restroom.

"Some of the bacteria and viruses can stay in blood for quite some time," said Carole Negus, Director of Nursing, Stella Maris.

Former addict Bo Dudley used these hot spots to get high multiple times.

"Anything can happen, you could get pricked with a needle laying around. So, its definitely a danger," said Dudley.

The disgusting discovery of blood and heroin on a baby changing table at the Sheetz location in Kent earlier this year is one the company is now trying to prevent.

"It is really cool to see them try and stop this because it's getting out of hand," said former addict Frank Petrovic.

The company is testing out blue lighting in one of its public restrooms because the color is supposed to make it harder for addicts to find their veins.

"I've never heard of it before," said Negus. "It's really great that they're trying to do something that is preventative."

But former addicts tell News 5 it would not deter them from shooting up.

"You can blindfold me and I'm going to find one, it doesn't matter. A light is not going to make a difference," said Dudley.

Frank Petrovic agrees.

"I've done it like in dark rooms. I'm pretty sure that is much harder than a blue light," said Petrovic.

For some users, they don't even need a vein.

"It got to the point where I was going in my neck," said Petrovic.

Carole Negus told News 5 that most heroin addicts are better at finding veins than her nurses are.

"They can tell us exactly where to go. Go on this vein over here, and by the way you can always get blood here," said Negus.

At the end of the day, these former addicts, along with those on the front lines of this epidemic, are happy to see a company trying to do something.

“I’m glad to see so much more awareness of what is going on and people are really stepping up in the community and a lot of collaboration going on," said Negus.

None of the Sheetz locations in Northeast Ohio are testing out the anti-heroin lighting.

A company spokesperson says it's too early to determine if it will be expanded.

"It's going to take a lot more than a light for them to stop shooting up in their bathrooms," said Petrovic.