A Lompoc needle exchange program for drug users is causing sanitary concerns and controversy over its proximity to children.
On social media, Facebook user Richard Smith accused the Pacific Pride Foundation of promoting drug use near kids:
“This organization is distributing needles (without exchange most of the time) on the corner of G Street and Oak Avenue. This is an active [Lompoc Unified School District] bus stop where children get on and off the bus. This organization is encouraging active drug users (heroin/meth) to congregate around a school bus stop. Call and email this organization and demand they move to a location away from our children. Also demand Lompoc City Council enact regulations around these unregulated services.”
Community members also complained about finding used needles around town, sharing photos with examples. Lompoc Police confirmed this was a growing issue.
“We don’t wanna see those needles end up anywhere where kids could have access to them,” Sgt. Kevin Martin shared.
Martin said the used syringes may not be linked to Pacific Pride, though. Others on social media seconded this thought, pointing out paraphernalia could be accessed at drug stores.
In a phone interview with KCOY 12, the Pacific Pride Foundation explained their services aim to prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C.
A spokeswoman said they’ve been running the needle exchange program on G Street for the past two years because it’s near potential clients. She said the foundation is aware their weekly services are on a school bus route, but they only provide services after school hours.
The representative added that the organization has collected more than 250,000 used needles throughout Santa Barbara County and are vigilant about proper disposal. Pacific Pride Foundation said they are also open to hearing from community members about relocating.