BELLEVUE, Ky. -- The dangerous side effects of heroin are well known in Northern Kentucky where the problem has been on the rise in recent years.
In addition to being a health risk to those who use the drug, heroin is causing a ripple effect throughout the region. Discarded needles used to inject the drug are littered throughout communities.
Officials in Bellevue told 9 On Your Side they found 120 needles in August. They were found in public areas like parking lots, alleys and roadways.
Bellevue Police Chief Wayne Turner told the Associated Press the city had a drop in the calls about needles in July, but that's when an interstate exit was closed for ramp work. Now that the exit is open again, calls are increasing.
The problem is so pervasive officers now carry biohazard containers similar to those used by health care professionals. Officers put on disposable gloves and then get ride of the potentially dangerous needles.
9 On Your Side reporter Natasha Williams had a guided tour from a Belleuve police officer on Wednesday. He showed her how the improperly disposed of needles are handled by officers and told her why the needles are so dangerous.
You can watch the video in the media player above.