Life in the Streets: The struggle with needles, COVID-19 and masks is (still) real

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Hi there! My name is Mike and every week I’ll be writing about  ‘Life in the Streets’ for Manchester Ink Link! I have some exciting stories to bring to you from around the community! Despite the coronavirus, I will keep you captivated and engaged with a unique perspective as an entrepreneur, a resident who has lived here more than 25 years, fathered two children who are currently in the school system and, most importantly, a proud Black man!

It’s August 2020. What are my biggest obstacles these days you ask? The City of Manchester is still facing the abuse of heroin. We’re still trying to convince people that they should wear a mask when they go inside a store. I’m still dealing with coronavirus closing Manchester schools thus taking my job as a substitute teacher away. I feel like the virus has just begun. So why is it so hard for the general public to practice safety habits and ensure safety like many other parts of the world already has? I have faith in Manchester but I need to see some more action, this past week let me down!

Discarded needle I found Aug. 22, 2020 on Pearl Street.

First, let’s discuss this needle issue. I brought this conversation up the other day while on a Zoom call with a colleague. He told me about what his city does up in Canada. I couldn’t believe it so I had to look it up. Check this out.

Some places in Canada have made big moves when it comes to their massive needle abuse issue. Some cities have supervised consumption sites. Yes, you heard me right, supervised consumption sites! Some have harm reduction vending machines that provide clean needles and crack pipes. Sounded ridiculous at first to me, but then I started to see the benefits to it because it could have prevented me from almost walking into the needle laying on Pearl Street earlier this week. Yes, I almost got into a really messy situation and could have been facing major issues!

Discarded needle on Pearl Street, Manchester.

So when I got home from that walk, I did some research to educate myself on what someone is supposed to do when they come across discarded needles. I’m glad that I came across this needle so that I could include in what I’m writing down today, these things are a REAL DANGER and I would hate for any of you readers not to know what to do.

OK,  so check this out. I did some researching and here are some helpful tips that I came across:

  1. Cover the needle and syringe so that it’s not accessible and can be easily identified. If found DURING business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), call the Manchester Health Department at 624-6466, and someone will come and remove the needle and syringe.
  2. If you find a needle or syringe AFTER regular business hours or on weekends, you are asked to call the Manchester Fire Department and someone will remove it.
  3. Manchester Fire Department can be reached at 603-669-2256

    Don’t forget pet safety. Zelda was with me on the walk and came close to finding the needle before me – and could have been hurt.

Remember! I would hate for any of you to not know what to do, so I hope that this information on randomly discarded needles helps if you happen to find yourself in this situation that I was on Pearl Street the other morning.

I hope these tips can help keep you and your family safe in the event that you or someone you know comes across a discarded needle.


As you can see in the photo there is a sign that clearly states everyone inside the 7-Eleven should wear masks, but for some, the virus is a “hoax.”

Last month at California Burrito on South Willow Street, I stood in line with my spouse as we waited to place our order. This was a few days after pretty much everyone around here decided they had enough and lost all patience with quarantine. I couldn’t believe it but the only two people wearing masks in the building were the two of us! Life in the community is scary sometimes because I ask myself every day, “how do people not believe in wearing masks in public?”

In the photo above, you’ll see clear as day, a 7-Eleven store right here in Manchester, has a COVID-19 notice in their front door window suggesting that everyone should wear masks upon entry. As I went inside to use the ATM I quickly realized that not a single customer had a mask on … and even worse … neither did the employees!

How are people allowed to work without wearing a mask or face guard? Will behavior like this lead to darker times and more people getting sick? All of these questions flooded my head as we got in the car and drove away to our next destination.

Reading Twitter and watching YouTube these days has shown me other parts of the country where people still go out to bars, malls and beaches without masks. But when I go out in public around Manchester and see crowds of people it makes me sad. I thought that our community would respond better and faster so that one day soon this virus can get under control.

I have two kids in the school system and pray for a better future every day for them. I lost my Manchester School district job in March due to the virus so I am a person who takes it very seriously!

If you read this no matter what your local area is, please wear a mask when you go out in public. It could save a life!

About this Author

Mike Lowe

Mike writes from the perspective of a long-time city resident, Black man and father of two. He works for the Manchester school District and has been a volunteer for local youths for more than 20 years. He is also an avid gamer, networker and entrepreneur. Mike values family above all.