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Fire dept. may be off hook for drug needle cleanup in La Crosse



Volunteer group being formed thanks to UW-L student’s effort

So many drug needles are turning up around La Crosse.

They’re being left on the ground in many places, and the fire dept. usually is called to pick them up.

Firemen, however, could get help with that task soon. A volunteer brigade is being formed in the city to clean up needles. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student Meagan Pichler is one of the organizers behind that effort.

“It was brought up as a concern from the La Crosse Fire Dept. that they need help picking up the needles,” she said. “So, I kind of took that on as a project.”

Many thousands of syringes are given out each year by the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin in downtown La Crosse.

The fire dept. was picking up around a dozen needles a month. They, of course, have more important tasks. Behind Pichler’s project, the fire dept. would serve as back up.

“They would contact a volunteer,” Pichler said. “If they can pick it up, they will. We would still be using the fire dept. at times when (volunteers) couldn’t go pick it up.”

Pichler is interning with the Coulee Council on Addictions. Volunteers will be trained in the proper disposal of needles, and they could hit the streets by November.


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