MORE used DRUG NEEDLES found in Wausau

There has been a marked increase in reports of discarded drug needles within the city of Wausau, a situation that could pose significant health risks to the community.


Used heroin needle found last week on the grounds of Horace Mann Middle School by Jane Janke Johnson.

Dispatchers received more than 100 calls about discarded needles in Wausau so far in 2016, according to figures from the Marathon County Communications Division. That number is a nearly 54% increase over all of 2015, when dispatchers took 65 such calls.

Jane Janke Johnson, co-owner of Janke Book Store, walks nearly every day to collect trash in downtown Wausau and in her Forest Park neighborhood. On Dec. 2, Johnson says, she was disgusted to find a drug needle on school property, one of three needles she found in a single week.

“I would have been happier finding dog poop in a plastic bag instead of a heroin needle on Horace Mann Middle School’s yard” Johnson posted.

Johnson says she has been finding needles just about everywhere she walks. Days ago, she finally sat down with a Wausau police officer to get advice on how to handle any future discoveries.

Marathon County Sheriff’s Lt. Randy Albert, who heads the county’s Special Investigations Unit, says residents who find discarded needles should call the non-emergency police number at 715-261-7800 so an officer can secure the needle in the proper container. Those needles are then disposed of at the Aids Resource Center of Wisconsin, he says.

The public is at risk of contracting Hepatitis C and other diseases if they handle the needles improperly. “We don’t want the public picking up the needle and placing it in a trash bag, which can now place sanitation and landfill employees at risk of exposure,” Albert says.