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SF mayor’s office expands needle cleanup efforts

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San Francisco is getting additional help getting rid of syringes and needles that are left on city streets.

Mayor Mark Farrell and Department of Health Director Barbara Garcia announced The City will allocate to $750,000 under a contract with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation to create a 10-person dedicated team who will focus on cleaning up syringes and needles.

The team will focus on hot spots in The City using data collected from complaints to 311, San Francisco’s system to report such issues, said Farrell.

Farrell said the litter and syringe issue has become an “epidemic” on the streets:

“People quite frankly are fed up with the conditions of our streets and as am I.”

The City already has four workers on a rapid response team to clean up the needles when residents make a complaint.

The Department of Public Health, along with its partners like the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, pick up more than 275,000 used needles per month from syringe access sites, disposable boxes and from street sweeps, said Joe Hollendoner, chief executive office for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, said:

“As the mayor said, we will be both proactive and reactive.”

Barbara Garcia, director of Public Health, said while there have been no known cases, one of the biggest concerns with having the used needles littered on the streets is that someone may step on one.

Additionally, The City will install three disposable boxes for used needles in areas known where drug use is known. City officials have already installed 19 boxes.

Other locations where the public can dispose their needles include any of The City’s Pit Stops, any Walgreens, and 13 syringe access sites.

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