to the junkie who threw his needle into my garden, thank you for putting the cap back on first

I spent all day working on the little patch of land that’s going to be our vegetable garden, turning over the soil and picking out roots, weeds, rocks and garbage. The best find of the day was a really nice piece of chert, which, given the strike patterns on its surface, must have been produced as a by-product in the making of some sort of primitive tool. Considerably less exciting was the discovery a few minutes later of a used hypodermic needle that someone must have tossed over from the alley… One wonders what an archeologist in the future would make of a place and its inhabitants based upon these two data points. They’re kind of sad bookends for human history, don’t you think?

I wonder how heroin and cocaine affect the ph-balance of the soil.

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  1. Collin
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    If you held on to it, perhaps in the future you could clone a little junkie of your own from the blood traces that are no doubt still on the needle.

  2. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t there a children’s book about a tiny band of heroin faeries that filled up syringes every night and left them in an old man’s garden?

  3. chris
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    OK, this is just sad and nervous making. If it is any consolation (as a person who volunteered w/ a needle exchange and did bench HIV research working with live virus), HIV is a very shortlived (less than hours)weak virus outside of the warm innards of the human body.

    Hep C on the other hand…no seriously, I know nothing about Hep C reg. its ex vivo viability.

    Be happy it wasn’t a syringe w/ an unsheathed upturned needle, and visible blood in the shaft waiting on the stairs of the F train in Brooklyn that I found when descending in open toe sandals…I picked it up and broke off the needle (as a cold sweat coarsed through every pore of my body). Of course this was a few years before publicly advertised needle exchanges…since then I have very rarely seen an improperly discarded syringe.

    Just keep saying to yourself over and over…blind diabeetic alcoholic-blind diabetic alcoholic etc

  4. mark
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I had a few concerned friends write-in, telling me that I wasn’t taking it seriously enough. The tone of my post was perhaps too light, and I can see how it might convey a certain amount of not caring on my part. The truth is, I am worried about it, but by cleaning up along the alley, I think we’re making things like this less likely. When I started cleaning the space up a few days ago, it was full of weeds. We hadn’t used the space since before the baby was born and it had grown into a mess. It’s not surprising to me that someone had tossed a needle there. It looked like an empty lot. I don’t think, however, that will be the case when we’re done with the garden. I pruned back the trees considerably and sifted through everything that was back there, right up to the fence that runs along the alley. (And I did that before I let the baby back there.) And, I plan to talk with the police at our next neighborhood association meeting. (We just started an association a few months ago to deal with stuff like this, and the cops come to our meetings.) So, please don

  5. murph
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    If it turned out to be a prominent local politician, then you could run them for office and watch the County Clerk’s head explode when he tried to figure out how to get both versions on the ballot.

    a) yes, further litterings will probably be less likely. People have more respek for space that’s taken care of, and,
    b) once you’re gardening it, you’ll notice within milliseconds any future litter, from across the yard.

  6. Stella Magdalen
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    The issue with the various Hepatitis’ is: As hard shell virus they are far more impervious than HIV (soft shelled). Hep C virus can live up to 2 weeks on a hard surface.
    The other issue is that statistically most people who have shared a needle even once have a high likelihood of having contracted it. There is no method to clean needles to counteract Hepatitis.
    (It is also transmissable through shared “coke” straws.)
    You should never handle used hypos with bare hands, as the skin if dry can have miniscule, non visible cracks. And there is a chance that there could be blood products on the outside of the hypo.
    Support your local needle exchange program, they get a lot of hassle from politicians and their uptight constituents, but they help keep this severe (currently incurable) health threat out of the streets, alleys and parks.

  7. chris
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Amen, sister.

  8. dorothy
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    not to dismiss the danger of used needles thrown in one’s backyard, but what you’ve got there is an insulin syringe. the needle just barely breaks the skin and can’t be used for iv drugs—it holds only 1 ml (about one fifth of a teaspoonful. still, the danger of hepatitis and other nasty blood borne diseases is real and i’m with stella—–don’t touch with bare hands.

  9. Stella Magdalen
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Actually, insulin syringe is the most widely available and THE most commonly used IV drug paraphenalia. You’ll have to trust me on this one, both as a insulin using diabetic and former addict. (19 years clean).

  10. chris
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, she is right dorothy. It is the thinness of the needle’s gauge that makes it ideal for repeated use.

    Congratulations Stella, I too, personally know how hard of an accomplishment yours is.

  11. Ted Glass
    Posted May 3, 2006 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Congratulations on getting off and staying off, Stella.

  12. mark
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    I don’t do it nearly enough, but I’d like to congratulate all the folks in the audience who are not using narcotics.

    (Seriously, I’m happy that you’ve been able to stay off the stuff, Stella. I had no idea that you, and maybe others in the audience, have had to deal with such things. I’m proud of you.)

  13. Stella Magdalen
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    OK, thanks for the thoughts and all, I only mentioned it to lend veracity to my contentions. Now I’m a little embarressed.
    BUT you’d possibly be surprised at how many people if they survived the early punk scene can probably say the same thing.
    It was the 70’s (and 80’s), it was one of the things on the “things to do to prove you’re hardcore” list.
    Unfortunately a lot of folk were so hardcore they’re dead now.
    I hear from my nieces and nephews that that stupid list is still hanging around and kids are still dying from it. Truly sad, as it’s one of the stupidest lists ever.

  14. chris
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Stella, Do we know each other? Chris

    And never be embarrassed…but damned indignant, proud, OK now Im not making sense. But maybe you know what I mean.

  15. jaems
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 5:14 pm | Permalink





  16. mark
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    As this post is from early ’06, I’m guessing that you’ve been slowly making your way back through the archive for some time now. So, you’d already gone through something like 300 posts before coming to this one that you hated. Even if this post sucked, you’ve got to admit that it’s a pretty good record. 1 out of 300 aint bad… There is, however, another possibility – that you just came across this single post randomly after searching for “Heroin” + “Ypsilanti”. If that’s the case, I can see why you might be disappointed with my post… Either way, I’m sorry. Just let me know your address and I’ll send you a refund.

  17. Ty
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Do something useful with his life, like shoot heroin?

    I think you’re letter should be addressed to the individual who left the needle, not the one who found it.

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