Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

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Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

canadiana
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a close up of a sign© Provided by thecanadianpress.com
    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - Colored bulbs cast an eerie blue glow in the restroom of a convenience store where people who inject heroin and other drugs have been seeking the relative privacy of the stalls to shoot up.
 
    The blue lights are meant to discourage people from using drugs in store bathrooms by making it more difficult for them to see their veins. It's an idea that's been around for years but is getting a fresh look as a result of the nation's opioid epidemic.

    "The hardest-core opiate user still wants to be accurate. They want to make sure the needle goes in the right spot," said Read Hayes, a University of Florida researcher and director of the Loss Prevention Research Council, a retail industry-supported group that is looking at the lights' effectiveness. The purpose of the blue light is to "disrupt that process" and force people to go somewhere else to take drugs, he said.

    Turkey Hill Minit Markets, a 260-store chain based in Lancaster, is one of two convenience store chains and a supermarket chain working with the loss prevention group to field-test the blue bulbs. Hayes, whose group devises methods to combat theft and violent crime at stores, said that the study is still in its infancy, but that initial feedback from stores that have been using them has been positive.

    Earlier studies have questioned the lights' deterrent effect, with people who use opioids telling researchers they'd shoot up in blue light if it meant avoiding withdrawal symptoms. Many public health experts oppose the practice, saying blue lights make people more likely to hurt themselves and stigmatize those in the grips of addiction.

    And, for people accustomed to injecting themselves, there are ways around the lights.

    Someone in withdrawal who obtains heroin is "going to want to use as soon as possible, even if the location is not optimal," said Brett Wolfson-Stofko at the National Development & Research Institutes, who has studied injection drug use in public bathrooms.

    Store owners say they have to do something.

    In Luzerne County, where Turkey Hill has installed blue lights at a store in Wilkes-Barre, Coroner William Lisman said people have died from overdoses in the public bathrooms of fast-food restaurants, big-box stores and other retailers.

    "It can very easily go unnoticed until somebody else wants to use that restroom," he said. "Other patrons realize they can't get in, the manager opens up and we find people deceased."

    At some Turkey Hill locations in hard-hit neighbourhoods, store workers would often find used needles or even people slumped over from an overdose, said Matt Dorgan, the chain's asset protection manager.

    "We realized we need to do something to protect our associates and our customers," he said.

    The blue lights were part of a broader set of security measures at Turkey Hill that included brighter exterior lighting, new window signage to make store exteriors more visible from inside, and security training for store workers.

    More than six months after the chain began using the blue lights in as many as 20 stores, "we're not finding hardly anything anymore," Dorgan said. "It's a pretty dramatic reduction. We haven't had a single overdose."

    Last fall, Sheetz, a convenience-store chain with more than 500 stores in six states, installed a new lighting system in the restroom of its New Kensington store, about 20 miles outside Pittsburgh. The blue lights are "designed to help our customers and employees avoid dangerous situations," said company spokesman Nick Ruffner.

    Sheetz, he said, has seen "positive steps in the right direction," and has since installed the blue bulbs at a store in Huntington, West Virginia.

    Some health experts encourage interventions that don't involve blue lights.

    Installation of needle disposal containers can help protect store employees, the public and people who use drugs, while stall doors that swing outward can make it easier to reach someone who has overdosed and is in need of medical help.

a close up of a sink© Provided by thecanadianpress.com
    Stores can also work with law enforcement, social service agencies and addiction services to tackle the problem — a step that Hayes, at the loss prevention council, said retailers are looking to take.

    Retailers aren't the only ones experimenting with blue lights.

    The city of Philadelphia began distributing kits to residents that include a blue bulb for the front porch, no-trespassing signs, a tool to pick up used syringes, a needle disposal box and contact information for social services.

    The city — where overdose deaths, fueled by the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, surged more than 30 per cent to 1,200 last year — has given out more than 100 kits since January.

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/money/topstories/retailers-experiment-with-blue-lights-to-deter-drug-use/ar-AAz5vxQ?ocid=iehp
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Re: Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

leChef
That is kinda funny in a time machine way. They used to have that sort of light in gas station restrooms in some European countries back in the 80's for the same reason.
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Re: Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

canadiana
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O really leChef?I thought this was kind of weird and new.Goes to show you like my mother said years ago,There's nothing new under the sun and hey just like a 70's revival heroin is coming back.Did those Europeans back then claimed it worked?I don't know why addicts don't go their own house,a friend's or if homeless behind a tree or bush.
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Re: Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

Mica
In reply to this post by canadiana
I am not judging, but what's appealing for someone to stick a needle in their arm in a public bathroom?  Here is your prevention video for the youth.  This could be you in a few years, stay in school and say no to drugs (or become someone who has a favorite public bathroom)!
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Re: Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

leChef
In reply to this post by canadiana
Yes, it worked, down that path of least resistance, meaning they would go elsewhere. Now of course, it is more common with public supervised injection sites where they can do their business without the stigma and harassment of the past. But they are not going to contain the problem before they decriminalize drug use, like in Portugal.
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Re: Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

Mica
"But they are not going to contain the problem before they decriminalize drug use, like in Portugal."
Legalizing heroin does not solve the problem, nor contain an epidemic and would only guarantee the number of users increases.  
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Re: Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

Kye0001
We have had these in some shops toilets for years.  Our mothercare (baby) store had an issue with people injecting where parents where trying to change or feed their babies.  They worked as the users go elsewhere.  It’s not a fix by any means but they are useful in places that users would congregate and put others at risk.  
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Re: Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

leChef
In reply to this post by Mica
@Mica: Decriminalization is not necessarily the same as legalization. Drug possession is still illegal in Portugal, but the law has been changed to an administrative offense, rather than a criminal one. Drug users are seen as having a medical problem rather than being criminals. That particular view is spreading through the continent.

What solves the problem for current users, is proper treatment. I dunno if the number of users would increase or decrease by legalization, there are many factors determining that equation, and several accompanying theories and examples, but that is not my prime concern either.

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Re: Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

Chivis
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decriminalization and legalization are not alike in any manner.
decriminalization is more a categorization to benefit; courts, prisons and drug users, that use drugs for personal reasons and not towards acts of criminality such as trafficking or selling. Limits are imposed that assure possession is more likely for personal use.

Legalization is what I have concluded is the best path towards control to separating crime from sickness.

History teaches us that criminalizing drug use is a failed concept.  

and each of the substitute drugs to "cure" addiction, actually became another addictive drug in of themselves, like morphine.  Morphine was thought to be a substitute cure for opium addiction,  as an alternative to opium in pain relief and as a substitute for opium to treat opium addiction among users.  

Study the history, each treatment became just another addictive drug.

The drug war is long over...and drugs won.  and drugs will always win in the failed concepts of the past.  When a government acknowledges that a percentage of people will abuse drugs no matter what, be it alcohol, or drugs, and percentages of addiction and abuse change little over history, then perhaps it will be compelled to try something very bold and different.  Legalization brings many positive factors to the table, mainly CONTROL, and a long way towards distinguishing the black market.  there will always be a back market but it can be controlled and  diminished.  

Study prohibition.  

Alcohol kills 2.5 times of people more than drugs each year, yet it is legal.  The argument for prohibition was to deem alcohol illegal and all problems will be solved.  Yet the opposite was proven.  Crime sky rocketing, organized crime violence went through the roof....and yet those who wanted alcohol were able to obtain it.  thru the black market.  

the first mexican cartel did not traffic drugs...they  trafficked booze.
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

Mica
So the plan is to decriminalize and setup zombie camps for junkies to “contain” them in their own safe space?  Everyone says the war on drugs is a failure, but I have never seen what metrics makes that occur?

Personally, I know a handful of people who got in trouble in high school for marijuana.  They got in trouble and used it as a life lesson to become successful professionally and personally.  I know, I know everyone has their own story, but I don’t want to work hard, follow the rules and raise a family next to a tax funded zombie camp.  Imagine if they decriminalized drinking and driving?  A main reason people don’t drink and drive is because of the criminalization, humility and fees.

I respect everyone’s opinion, but we all live in different world away from the forum.
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Re: Installation of blue lighting discourages addicts from using public retail bathrooms

leChef
Totally agree with you there, Chivis. I don't really care about the number of drug users. My concern is the harm people and governments, involved in the drug market, do to others, not what drug users do to themselves. It is kinda strange how governments allow so many ways of self-injury, but not narcotics. Somebody is profiting off of that policy, other than drug entrepreneurs.

@Mica: War on drugs have been going on since at least 1971, I would argue earlier, but that is when Nixon put the term in motion. So you are not giving up after 47 years, are you? 3 out of 4 Americans thinks it is failing, that 1/4 hardcore believer group is probably not among the 1.5 million US citizens arrested every year on possession, nor the 80 mill that have tried marijuana I bet, nor in any way involved in the USD 400 billion global illicit drug market, expected to rise 25% towards 2050.

You guys had one win though, you managed to cut the price of most drugs by 30% since the 90s. If almost 50 years have not managed to cut consumption, nor number of users, I would not call it a success, and if it is not a success, it is a failure.

Portugal does not have zombie camps to my knowledge, but the number of treatment facilities have increased, mainly substitution treatment. I wouldn't want a treatment facility next to me either, but here is one idea: How about using the money spent on war on drugs on treatment facilities far away from people, or even better: How about legalizing drugs, taxing them, and spend the tax on treatment? Let them cover their own cost.

Funny thing too, I know a guy who is a heroinist, but he goes to work every day as a CEO, highly successful professionally and personally. The thing is that these guys function normally as long as they get their fix.

I would like to think that the main reason people don't drink and drive, is that it is a high risk of harming others, pretty much the opposite of doing drugs, except when driving of course...