Woman finds used needles containing blood, heroin steps from back door

DENVER (KDVR) -- A woman living in the Capitol Hill neighborhood said she's "at a loss for words" after finding used needles containing blood and heroin steps from her back door.

Randi Bartling knows there are heroin users who walk through her neighborhood.

"You'll see them walking up in the alley zoned out a lot of times, so that's not uncommon," Bartling said.

However, finding used needles a few steps from her home is a new low.

"I don't really know what to say. I am just at a loss. What do you say to an addict that is high? There are no words for it. There really isn't," Bartling said.

She found the needles last week. She used a plastic bag to pick them up and throw them in the dumpster, several inches from where someone dropped the needles. She's glad young children or animals didn't find them first.

"I'm a nanny and I bring by kids over here and they have flip-flops on and you know, they'll get out of the car and what if it was closer to the car and they stepped on it?" Bartling said.

Colorado has a heroin epidemic. New statistics produced by a multiagency work group found heroin-related deaths doubled from 2011 to 2015.

During that same period, heroin seizures by law enforcement went up 2,000 percent. A study also found 70 percent of users say painkillers played a role in their decision to start using.

"I drive along on Speer and stop at Speer, and I can literally see them doing dope," Bartling said. "What else is being done about it? Something needs to be done because it's horrible."

The state has formed a work group that includes Colorado's attorney general, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. and Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The group will study the state's epidemic and ways to fight it.

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