Denver has banned 23 suspected drug users from city parks

Drug-user ban took effect 41 days ago
Posted at 9:35 PM, Oct 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-12 00:38:08-04

DENVER -- It's been more than a month since Denver banned people from using or selling illegal drugs in city parks.

Since September, Denver police say officers have issued 23 drug-related suspensions banning violators from city parks for 90 days.  

So far, DPD said only one person has violated their suspension and was issued a trespassing fine.

Parks and Recreation said it also hired a contractor to help clean up areas along the river plagued with used needles and other trash.

A spokesperson said approximately 3,500 needles have been collected this year alone as the city and drug treatment specialists work to address a growing heroin epidemic.

Before the ban took effect Denver7 rode along the Cherry Creek trail from Speer Boulevard to Champa Street. During the one-hour ride, Denver7 found five used needles.

Denver7 rode the same route on Tuesday and found only three used needles, but also noticed a lot more people out on the trail.

"It's definitely much cleaner you feel safer," said Jacob Ewald who runs on the trial two or three times a week.

Ewald said he's seen a big difference.

"There's less people just hanging around on the trail, and there's less needles that you see," he said.

"A lot less of that now," said another trail user Michael Richman.

"I think its ended up targeted some homeless individuals who just don't have any other place to go," said Cathy Alderman with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

Homeless advocates like Alderman said the ban is moving to problem to backyards and other neighborhoods across the city.

"We are just displacing people and moving the problem around town rather than addressing it directly" she said.

"I guess that kind of begs a larger solution -- like what is the larger solution to drug use and homeless populations," said Richman.


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