We’re told the battle against opioid addiction is a fight close to home.
For Scott Miller, he sees the enemy on a daily basis.
"They are putting needles everywhere," Miller said. "Children walk by these areas every single day."
Miller noticed the needles near his work site at 27th Avenue and the Loop 101 in north Phoenix. He was taken aback by how many were left in the open. He immediately snapped pictures and called the police.
"By filing police reports and talking to the local authorities, they told me exactly what was going on this area which is a big heroin area," Miller told ABC15.
But the issue isn’t just needles.
ABC15 obtained security footage from a restaurant near 35th Avenue and Bell Road. It shows two people sitting on a bench just outside the restaurant’s front doors. In a matter of seconds, the pair both appear to shoot up.
Now, Miller is on a hunt for dirty needles and drug users. He’s been told when he finds them to continue to file police reports in an effort to fight the issue.
Phoenix Police did confirm to ABC15 they’re aware of the problem. A spokesperson told us patrols have been increased in the area.
Meanwhile, ABC15 asked Phoenix City Councilwoman Thelda Williams if residents have raised the issue to her and if she plans to look further into the issue.
Her office released this response:
There are a couple of issues at hand around Bell road and 27th Avenue which contribute negatively to each other.
- One is the issue of transients. This is a nationwide concern. There is a rise in the transient population across the country and in many parts of the city. This issue is not unique to Bell/27th Avenue. The city continues to diligently work on finding solutions and has partnered with many community organizations to assist as well. One of the greatest barriers to reducing the increasing number of transients is that many just refuse the services offered to them. There are many reasons for this and they are as unique as the individual. Being transient is not a crime so this situation is very challenging.
- There is a growing epidemic of opioid use and addiction. As I am sure you have seen, this is also a nationwide problem and Phoenix is not exempt. These drugs, which come in many forms, are cheap and, unfortunately, readily accessible.
- Cities across the country, to include Phoenix, experience growing numbers of overdoses and deaths because of these opioids. Even though use and possession are illegal in many cases, arresting offenders will not address the root causes and treatment is the only real solution. But, many reject services, or assistance and continue in their lifestyle so the cycle continues.