Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Every day, teachers at Crabbe Elementary School in Ashland, Kentucky scour the playground for dirty needles. Since the beginning of the school year they've found 18 used needles on their playgrounds. Ashland is in the midst of a heroin crisis and in order to stem the secondary effect of disease spread through users sharing dirty needles, the local health department has been giving away free needles to addicts. Now this may be creating another health crisis. In a 10-month time period, the local health Department had 20,000 dirty needles returned to them. But that's less than 55 percent of needles they gave away. There may have been good intentions to stop the spread of disease by drug addicts who were sharing needles, but now with dirty needles littering the community, it’s exposing the rest of us to another health hazard.