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Just Where Do We Go?

If you think the drug problems around the local area have subsided, think again. And you really do have to think before going into publicly shared spaces such as stores with shopping carts, stadiums, restaurants and more frightening — public restrooms.

Thankfully many stores have placed germ-killing hand wipes at their doors to allow you to wipe clean the handles of the shopping carts. If you have young children riding in the seats of the carts, it’s not a bad idea to invest in one of those fabric coverlets that fits into the seat and covers all areas of the cart in which the child would make contact. It’s just an added layer of protection after using the wipes.

Why such concern? It seems that drug users aren’t always the cleanest people. If they have drug residue on their hands and touch, say, the shopping carts, it can be transmitted to the next person. That’s bad enough, but wait, it gets worse.

Earlier this week in a restroom at Wheeling’s City-County Building, a female sheriff’s deputy found a woman who was disoriented and had blood running down her arm. The woman claimed she had just come from the health department’s needle exchange and needed to inject insulin.

Whether the woman’s story holds any water is debatable. Whether it was insulin or heroin she was injecting, she was bleeding in the restroom. Think about that the next time you or your toddler need to use a public restroom. It’s scary.

Needle exchanges are debatable. Some say needle exchanges prevent the spread of disease, thus saving lives. Maybe they do, maybe they simply delay the inevitable. If you want to give away free needles, how about throwing in some free Epi pens for people with life-threatening allergies. That sounds like a life-saving idea to me.

Police records continue to show that overdoses — including fatal ones — are still occurring. People have been found in fast food restaurant restrooms, in churches, in alleys and in places you probably consider safe from such behavior. I have empathy for people suffering from addictions. I realize it can be really hard to stop drugs, overeating, smoking and gambling. But I have to draw the line at disgusting behavior that puts others at risk for illness or even death. The bottom line is — be careful.

Ziegler can be reached at: hziegler@theintelligencer.net

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