Since May 2020, when the City of Boulder and Boulder County installed red containers near the city’s downtown for people to dispose of hypodemic needles, more than 689 pounds have been collected, according to city officials.

“Based upon weight of a syringe, we think that’s about 62,000 needles,” Ali Rhodes, the director of Boulder Parks and Recreation, told city councilmembers last Thursday. “Staff are reporting finding fewer abandoned syringes in nearby public spaces since installation.”

The number is a grim reminder of drug addiction in the city. Disposing of used needles can reduce the risk of infection and hepatitis C, a life-threatening disease. The kiosk near 13th and Arapahoe was recently taken down. In an email, Rhodes told Boulder Reporting Lab that the city and county are planning to place the container somewhere else in the area “to measure/test if/how usage changes depending upon location.”

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