When the heroin problem hits your front yard, neighbors find needles on their properties

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 16:39:33-04

Needles and other drug paraphernalia are being found in yards, parks, and the side of the highway all over Northeast Ohio.

Mike Miller and Ginger Zahitian both live on a side street off Interstate 90 in Cleveland and they both say they find needles outside their homes.

"It's like wow, this is where I live and this is in my front yard? I don't want to live like that," Miller said.

"They sit in front of the house doing it all the time," Zahitian said. "You see little children walking by, picking them up. I have to yell don't touch them."

The ugly reality of an even uglier drug problem that has proved it's everywhere.

"It's scary and it's a real concern," said Matt Bruning, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation. "You're out there thinking you're gonna pick up fast food cups. Paper. A piece of a tire. And then you come across a syringe," Bruning said.

"We provide work gloves and vinyl gloves, especially if they're going to be around any hazardous items," said Emely Vallee with volunteer organization, HandsOn Northeast Ohio.

Vallee says the organization would never want the chance of finding a needle or syringe to discourage people from volunteering to help keep public spaces clean.

"If anyone is uncomfortable picking those items up, obviously, they don't have to," Vallee said.

So, what do you do? Especially if it's on your property?

"How do you dispose of them properly? How do you stay safe?" Ginger Zahitian asked.

There are some options, according to health officials. Don't pick them up and call someone who can remove them safety, like police or a health department official. Or, if you feel you must, use sturdy gloves, or a shovel, and place them in a safe container.