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Sheetz installs new lighting to deter opioid use

08 December 2017

"If it's helping the drug epidemic going on in New Kensington, I think that's good", Sinicki said.

The blue lights are supposed to prevent drug users from finding veins to inject heroin.

In 2016, Westmoreland County had 174 overdose deaths, with the numbers in 2017 set to eclipse that. Spokesman Nick Ruffner says the lighting is created to help customers and employees "avoid unsafe situations". This year the county set a record with 144 confirmed overdose deaths as of December 1, with 35 suspected overdoses awaiting toxicology verification.

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Dr. Neil Capretto, medical director at Gateway Rehab, told the website that most heroin addicts are very familiar with where their veins are.

Can blue lights in the bathrooms ultimately act as an effective deterrent to drug use?

Officials in New Kensington tell WPXI the blue lights are a deterrent because they make it hard for addicts to see their veins. "I am not sure if it is going to have a significant impact, but it is probably worth a try".

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According to the Tribune Review, the Sheetz on Freeport Street in New Kensington is testing dark blue-colored lights in their bathrooms to keep drug abusers from using opioids.

"The bottom line is, if they're going to shoot dope, it's not going to stop them", Phillips said. "I can understand Sheetz not wanting it to occur and if that drives them away, fine, but I don't think it's going to do it".

It is not clear if any drug users have ever overdosed in their bathrooms but local police say they find as many as two a month dead inside gas stations generally.

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"The focus is not that convenience stores are the site for this problem, but can be a community watch to help address the problem".