Valley man takes action after finding drug needles throughout neighborhood

Scott Miller is on a mission.

"It's horrific, needles everywhere," he said. "If there's any place they can hide, it's where they're going to be hiding behind to do the shooting up."

Miller works on 27th Avenue near Interstate 17 and the Loop 101 and he's tired of seeing used needles laying around. He sent us pictures that he took showing used and bloody needles in plain sight.

"I feel empathy because these people need help, and I also get mad because anyone can come across these needles and accidentally poke themselves," he said. "Especially kids, since there's a middle school just blocks away."

Miller is trying to raise awareness about the problem. We went for a short walk with in the area and it didn't take long to see what he was talking about.

"There's a needle right inside the bush, there's a needle right inside the bush," he said.

Natalie Chimbo-Andrade with addiction recovery non-profit Community Bridges Incorporated says the number of people seeing used drug paraphernalia is growing.

"Because we are in an opioid epidemic, seeing needles is not uncommon," she said.

But treatment, and not necessarily incarceration, should be the path to curbing the epidemic.

"Throwing them in jail and hoping that they're going to be OK and get clean by incarcerating them is not properly getting to the disease or the root of the problem," she said.

Miller says he's filed three police reports and says the department is working with him, but they're stretched thin.

Programs like Community Bridges offer a "no shame" approach and they say they also never say no, even if someone seeking treatment doesn't have any money.

For more information on Community Bridges, click here.