Sheetz testing blue lights to cut drug use

Mae Love
December 8, 2017

The county had a record 144 confirmed overdose deaths since December 1, with 179 deaths tracing back to November.

Sheetz officials tell the Trib that the blue light makes it more hard for drug users to locate veins to inject drugs into their body.

Spokesman Nick Ruffner says the lighting is created to help customers and employees "avoid risky situations".

Not everyone thinks the new lights will do much to deter drug use, according to Triblive.

"This system is being tested at just this store for the time being, and it is too early to see the full results at this time or discuss any plans to expand this test", Ruffner said. Additional cases are awaiting the completion of toxicology reports.

Gateway Rehab's medical director, Dr. Neil Capretto, said the lights could decrease drug use in the bathrooms.

But he said if the unorthodox deterrent is found to work, he supports it.

"The bottom line is, if they're going to shoot dope, it's not going to stop them", Phillips said.

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A qualitative study published in 2013 in the Harm Reduction Journal also concluded that blue lights are unlikely to deter drug use in public bathrooms and may increase drug-related harms.

Many of those interviewed for the study perceived that the use of blue lights, rather than discouraging drug use, merely made injection more unsafe.

"When push comes to shove, it would mean no difference to me, really", one participant is quoted as saying.

"I heard some people think it was rather creepy or daunting going in there".

A Sheetz store in Pennsylvania is testing out blue lights to keep drug users from taking shelter in their bathrooms.

It is not clear if any drug users have ever overdosed in their bathrooms but local police say they find as many as two a month dead inside gas stations generally.

"The focus is not that convenience stores are the site for this problem, but can be a community watch to help address the problem".

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