A new harm reduction program is hoping to keep SF safer as well as improve its overall aesthetics. As the Ex reports, thanks to a push from GK Callahan, the founder of the Please Touch Community Garden on Grove St, two needle disposal boxes have been installed in the city.
The bright red singular square foot boxes are located near City Hall, on the side of the Tom Waddell Health Center building, and in the Tenderloin near Glide Memorial Church and are maintained by the SF AIDS Foundation. Unlike needle exchange programs that also offer safe disposal, the boxes are available 24/7.
As Eileen Loughran, the Department of Public Health’s health program coordinator in HIV prevention tells the Ex, “No one wants syringes in their gardens or on the streets. A couple of years ago, a study was done that interviewed drug users. They said they wanted a place to put syringes. They didn’t want to just dump them on the street.”
The program was launched about a month ago, though it may take up to half a year to expand. Boxes are emptied twice a week though needles aren’t individually counted. Already, there is a marked difference in the amount of needles littering the areas around the two needle boxes.