Syringe pickup in downtown Albuquerque to raise awareness for fentanyl epidemic

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There are efforts being made in the war against the invisible killer, fentanyl. On Wednesday, a fentanyl awareness group held a used syringe pickup in downtown Albuquerque, ahead of a first-of-its-kind fentanyl summit in the city Thursday.

The pickup was a part of a new campaign called “Keep NM Alive” the same campaign behind Thursday’s summit. It’s a collaborative effort between Bernalillo County, Behavioral Health Services, and the City of Albuquerque.

“We are looking for the orange caps at either end, or sometimes they are clear,” said Public Health Specialist, Mark Clark.

Keep NM Alive, is a response to the growing fentanyl epidemic.

“The misuse of fentanyl has become more prolific, and now it is in the illicit drug market,” Clark added.

So ahead of Thursday’s summit, Keep NM Alive, is taking used needles off the streets.

“We are just kind of combing the area to see any telltale signs of discarded injection supplies or inhale supplies,” said Clark.

Clark added it’s also to outreach to people in need.

“We also hand out naloxone kits in case people with substance abuse disorders are still using. We want them to have the safety kit with them so if somebody does stop breathing they can revive them and call 911,” said Clark.

Gloves, grabbers, and trash containers are all needed to safely get rid of used needles.

“You can easily transmit hepatitis A, B, or C that way and if you get poked with it, there is a potential danger for an HIV infection, if there was an infected person that last used the needle,” Clark said.

And for community members it’s a way to answer an important question.

The fentanyl awareness summit is Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Albuquerque Convention Center from 10 to 5 p.m. You can go there for help yourself, or get help for a friend or loved one.