A step toward safety

The village of Bellaire has reached a rather dubious milestone, but the people who made it possible should be commended.

Since community installed bright yellow receptacles two years ago, the village has collected and properly disposed of about 2,500 used hypodermic needles, according to resident Joyce Liberati. She and other members of the Bellaire Citizens Action Group spearheaded the effort to place the boxes in areas where heroin users could easily drop their dirty needles into them.

Before taking action to address the problem, group members had spotted dirty, used needles in various locations around the community. They had been found at intersections near Ohio 7, in neighborhoods and even on playgrounds.

Imagine taking your child out for the afternoon to spend a little time playing on a sliding board or swingset and instead having to be on the lookout for illegal drug users’ discarded needles. Not only could those objects wound your child, but they could also infect anyone who happens to be pricked with dangerous or even deadly diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

To help protect the public, especially children, from accidentally getting poked, Liberati pursued installation of the boxes. Before the start of a recent Bellaire Village Council meeting, Liberati said the boxes were still standing and noted that just one had to be relocated.

Before the boxes were installed, Liberati took it upon herself to pick up and collect any dirty needle she spotted in the village. She kept plastic containers in the trunk of her car to place them in. And when those containers filled up, she would tape up their ends and dispose of them properly.

The yellow disposal boxes are a much safer way to collect needles. They work much like a post office mailbox does – what goes in can only come out when Liberati opens it with a key. Stickers on the boxes note they are for sharps disposal. There is also information on the sides about how used needles can carry diseases.

Good for Liberati and other members of the action group for making their community a cleaner, safer place to live. They made a positive difference in the lives of many of their friends and neighbors and may even have saved some lives.