Alarming number of hypodermic needles found along Dare Co. streets

Posted at 10:29 AM, Oct 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-31 23:41:12-04

Dare Co., N.C. - In recent weeks, there has been an alarming number of hypodermic needles found discarded along streets, parking lots, and in designated children’s play areas across Dare County, according to Chief Deputy Steve Hoggard.

Deputy Donovan Ruth says the needles are only part of a much bigger problem. He says drug use in the county has drastically increased.

"We’ve got powder cocaine, a relatively good amount of crack cocaine; this is a single cap of heroine," Ruth says, displaying packets of drugs seized in a recent bust.

Ruth says these are unfortunately all too common, and specifically in Wanchese where he's found most of the needles.

"It’s just not something you would find in a small village like this so when people hear about it, they're like 'what? That’s like something you would see in a movie,'" says Kamala Warren, who was born and raised in Wanchese.

In the past few years, Warren says drug-use has become part of daily life.

"Blatant drug deals in broad daylight right in front of parents,” she says. “It has obviously gotten way out of control."

In response, the sheriff's office has implemented a community impact unit in Wanchese and a few weeks ago, Warren organized a community watch.

"It’s just time to do something,” Warren says. “I mean enough is enough."

Under the North Carolina General Statutes, it is a felony to discard hazardous material. These needles have been used to inject substances into the human body and are thereby considered to be hazardous materials.

The Dare County Sheriff’s Office will charge individuals caught discarding hypodermic needles onto a street or other public area with a Class I Felony under North Carolina General Statute 14-399.

Sheriff J. D. “Doug” Doughtie made the following statement:

“The Dare County Sheriff’s Office understands the serious health risk that comes along with having used and unsanitary hypodermic needles lying around in the Community. This law has been around for a while, and we have not directed it at used needles before. We believe that a discarded, used, hypodermic needle falls into the description of a hazardous material as defined in North Carolina General Statute 130A-290(8). When persons are caught discarding these needles in a place where they can be accessed by a child or other unsuspecting person, they will be charged. The Dare County Sheriff’s Office welcomes any information that you may have regarding this, or any other criminal activity. You can call our office at (252) 475-5980, the Dare Community Crime Line at (252)473-3111 or Dare Central Communications at (252) 473-3444. Your name will be held in strictest confidence. We appreciate your continued cooperation.”