Youth soccer coach picks up dozens of drug needles from field in Everett
EVERETT, Wash. -- A youth soccer coach is now trying to tackle the opioid problem in Everett after finding dozens of needles near his practice field.
"It's tragic because a kid is going to get stuck," said Jesse Anderson, who said he's found needles near the field at all but one practice so far this season.
Anderson said he’s seen needles near the field located on the far side of the Sequoia High School campus in previous seasons, but this year is by far the worst.
On Monday night, Anderson found approximately 30 needles and other drug paraphernalia near the field in an area covered with brush and ivy.
"When we run (kids) know they're not supposed to go into the woods. They know they're supposed to be careful for needles," Anderson said. "I don't know what to tell the kids. I don't know what to say."
Staff from the Everett School District cleaned up the needles on Tuesday morning, but there was still garbage scattered underneath the brush and ivy.
"What they need to do is mow the bushes down," said Phillip Ervin, who lives across the street from the field.
"You don't even trust your own kids to come out here and play across the street in a field that -- most of these people on this street we all grew up here," Ervin said.
Ervin also said neighbors have also found stolen property near the bushes that they believe was left there by transients in the area.
"No aspect of Snohomish County has been left alone in this epidemic," said Jefferson Ketchel of the Snohomish Health District.
On Thursday, the Snohomish Health District is releasing information about new efforts to address the opioid problem in the county, including kits for people to safely pick up and dispose of needles.
"The needles in the parks-- that is just an indicator of a bigger problem, and until this entire community is willing to sit down and work on the entire problem together we're not going to find solutions to needles in parks," Ketchel said.
The City of Everett is hosting a candlelight vigil on Thursday night for 'Overdose Awareness Day.'
The event starts at 7:00 p.m. and will be at Thornton Sullivan Park, located at 11400 Silver Lake Road.
Organizers are hoping to bring awareness to overdoses and addiction.
"I'm hopeful that things will change," Anderson said.