A citizen turned in this box of about 120 syringes, shown here Sept. 19, 2018, collected behind the Homer Marine Terminal on the Homer Spit on Sept. 11 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided/Homer Volunteer Fire Department)

A citizen turned in this box of about 120 syringes, shown here Sept. 19, 2018, collected behind the Homer Marine Terminal on the Homer Spit on Sept. 11 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided/Homer Volunteer Fire Department)

Box of syringes collected on Spit

An employee of North Star Terminal on Sept. 11 turned in a box of about 100 used syringes and needles found behind the barge basin on the Homer Spit. Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said the syringes were picked up over the course of a few days.

Robl said police don’t know where the syringes came from, but he said it’s common for intravenous drug users to dump syringes where they shoot up. Although the front of the terminal is gated, the Mud Bay or east side is accessible by walking from elsewhere on the Spit. City employees also find syringes in public restrooms frequently, he said.

People who find syringes or needles should be careful handling them, Robl said.

“It’s easy to mishandle these darn things and have an inadvertent needle stick,” Robl said. “That’s something that can have bad consequences for you.”

Used syringes carry a risk of spreading IV-transmitted diseases like hepatitis or AIDS.

According to advice from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the safest way to handle syringes is to put them in hard plastic containers like laundry detergent or shampoo bottles. Seal the lid with duct tape and write “sharps/do not recycle” on the bottle. Syringes also can be put in “sharps” containers made especially to safely handle use needles. Syringes can be taken to the police station for disposal by asking a dispatcher. Sharps containers also are in some city restrooms.

The Exchange also provides free, new syringes and accepts used syringes from 5-7 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month at the South Peninsula Hospital Annex on West Pioneer Avenue near Greatland Street.

Robl advised people who find needles or syringes to call police at 235-3150 if they’re not comfortable picking them up.

If people come across areas where people are shooting up, Robl advised people not to approach them.

“I think the best response is probably to walk away and give us a call,” he said. “You certainly don’t want to confront the person.”

Police do not have an accurate number of drug users in the Homer area, Robl said. Intravenous drug users usually shoot up heroin or meth, with more meth than heroin, he said.

Robl said police did see an increase of users over the summer.

“It’s safe to say we had a summer influx of users,” he said. “I certainly expect them to be leaving. We saw an uptick of syringes around here in the summer — I would say a pretty good increase. I fully expect it to get down to our local user levels in the next couple of weeks.”

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

More in News

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

Thunder Mountain High School on April 18.  Earlier this fall, vandalism including stolen soap dispensers and toilets clogged with foreign objects such as paper towel rolls were a problem at schools nationwide and in Juneau. But, principals say the local situation is improving. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
After brief surge, vandalism subsiding at local high schools

Principals say internet trends, stress likely behind incidents.

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, heads to a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Alaska man faces federal charges after authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, according to court documents unsealed Wed., Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)
Delta Junction man faces charges over threatening Murkowski’s life

Authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill the senator.

Donna Aderhold recites the Homer City Council oath of office and is sworn in for duty at the city council meeting on Oct. 11. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
New council members sworn into duty Monday

Newly-elected Homer City Council members Shelly Erickson and Jason Davis and re-elected… Continue reading

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

At left Bonita Banks, RN, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) nurse at Homer Medical Center, and at right, Annie Garay, RN, Community Health Educator, pose for a photo at South Peninsula Hospital on Sept. 27, 2021, at Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
New hospital community health educator starts

Garay, a Homer raised nurse, came home to ride out COVID-19, wound up doing pandemic nursing.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Montessori school goes to universal indoor masking

As of Tuesday, eight KPBSD schools were operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Crabbers look at cuts to quotas

Tanner, opilio crab quotas cut on top of cancellation of fall king crab fishery.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Judge sides with psychiatrists who alleged wrongful firing

Two psychiatrists said they were wrongfully fired when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.

Most Read