The City of Wolverhampton Council's Environmental Services Team safely collected 1,467 syringes and other drugs paraphernalia in 2016-17, down from 3,807 in 2015-16 and 3,901 the year before that.
The big reduction is thanks to a combination of proactive work between the council, police and other partners, including targeting known hot spots and other locations of drug activity and cutting back vegetation, and the continuation of a needle exchange service available at a number of local community pharmacies.
The needle exchange enables drug users to swap used needles for clean sterile equipment as well as getting health advice and information about the drug treatment services available to them in Wolverhampton. Last year, around two thirds of the syringes given out by local pharmacies through the needle exchange service were returned safely.
Residents are encouraged to report needles found on public land by calling the City of Wolverhampton Council's Customer Services department on 01902 551155 or by emailing email@example.com. Residents are reminded not to handle discarded syringes or other needle litter themselves.
Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "The council and its partners work hard to tackle the issue of discarded needles, with the council's Environmental Service team removing drug paraphernalia found in public areas on the same day it is reported whenever possible - indeed last year all reported needles were cleared away within one working day.
"The team also cuts back shrubbery to restrict hiding places which could be used for drug taking purposes, and share information about hotspots with the council's Public Health team to enable it to provide targeted help and support.
"The police, Wolverhampton Anti-Social Behaviour Team and the drug and alcohol treatment service Recovery Near You provide advice and support to drug users who are not in treatment, which can also be followed up with targeted criminal or civil enforcement action against problem users where necessary.
"Injecting is extremely risky and we always urge people not to do it in the first place. However, we recognise that some people, for whatever reason, will not be ready to stop drug use completely.
"The needle exchange is a powerful tool to prevent harm, and so - like other places - we provide this discreet service through a number of local community pharmacies and Recovery Near You.
"It has helped reduce the sharing of dirty needles, which can cause the transmission of viruses and other infections such as HIV and hepatitis A and B, and cut the amount of equipment dumped in public areas.
"It's important to stress that the needle exchange service is not about condoning or supporting drug use, it is about protecting everyone - both users and the wider population - from harm."
Councillor Sweet added: "While the majority of discarded needles are found by council workers and other partners, we also rely upon members of the public to bring issues to our attention. I would urge anyone who spots needles or other drugs paraphernalia to report it to us immediately so that we can safely dispose of it, and not try to clear it up themselves."
Recovery Near You helps anyone concerned about their drug or alcohol use, or that of someone else. It can help with immediate problems, as well as helping people make more permanent changes.
Recovery Near You offers 24 hour support lines, one for adults on 0300 200 2400 and one for young people on 0300 123 3360. Alternatively, people can log on to Type=links;Linkid=3084;Title=Recovery Near You;Target=_blank; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Service User Involvement Team (SUIT) also offer a wide range of support and advice to individuals affected by substance misuse and can be contacted on 01902 328983 or by visiting Type=links;Linkid=3520;Title=Service User Involvement Team;Target=_blank;.
- released: Friday 17 November, 2017