Drugs-related litter refers to a range of materials such as needles, syringes, foils, swabs, spoons, plastic bottles and cans.
Fortunately, widespread incidences of drugs-related litter are rare, but problems often occur in hotspots where used and discarded needles and syringes, in particular, cause fear and alarm.
Local authorities and other land managers have implemented a variety of measures to deal with drugs-related litter. Keep Britain Tidy believes these measures have been successful in minimising the public’s exposure to drugs-related litter and would like to see them put into practice wherever it is a problem.
- Provision of public information. Information empowers people and communities so they know what to do if they find drugs-related litter or receive a needle stick injury.
- Suitable disposal solutions for needles. If drug users are going to dispose of their litter correctly, suitable disposal solutions need to be provided. This can be in the form of sharps bins, personal sharps containers and needle exchange schemes.
- Training for operatives. The public are not the only ones at risk from drugs-related litter. Certain local authority employees are too and must receive training in all aspects of dealing with drugs-related litter.
- Partnership working. Drugs-related litter is indicative of a wider problem and local authorities need to form partnerships with other organisations and agencies working in this area to tackle it.
- Monitoring and evaluation. Local data should be collected to identify hot spots for drugs-related litter so resources can be targeted more efficiently.
- Enforcement. Fixed penalty notices and litter control notices may not be effective in dealing with drugs-related litter and local authorities should look at implementing other measures first.
- Drug consumption rooms. Evidence of the effect of drug consumptions rooms on drugs-related litter is inconclusive. A pilot study could help to resolve this issue but drug consumption rooms should only be implemented with the agreement of communities.