Sheetz testing blue lights to deter drug use in restrooms

Color makes it hard for IV drug users to see veins

ALTOONA, Pa. - One of Pennsylvania's major convenience store chains is considering a colorful approach to the fight against drug abuse and opioid overdoses.

Sheetz said Wednesday that is testing blue lights in the restrooms of one of its stores in Westmoreland County.

The blue lights, officials said, can make it difficult for IV drug users to see their veins prior to injecting a needle.

"One of our highest priorities at Sheetz is creating a safe and secure environment for our customers and employees," said Nick Ruffner, the Altoona-based company's public relations manager. "The light system in the restrooms at this New Kensington store is designed to help our customers and employees avoid dangerous situations."

New Kensington resident Nathan Murray Sinicki told WPXI-TV that the bathroom's blue hue is jarring at first, but he said if the unorthodox deterrent is found to work, he supports it.

WJAC-TV reported 179 people have died from drugs in Westmoreland County this year.

Ruffner said no decision has been made by Sheetz about whether to install blue lights in the restrooms of its 563 other stores, several of which are located in Berks County.

"This system is being tested at just this store for the time being, and it is too early to see the full results at this time or discuss any plans to expand this test," Ruffner said.

A CNN report in May highlighted other methods taken by businesses that have public restrooms, including requiring customers to obtain a code from employees to unlock the restroom doors.

Some businesses are also training their employees in the use of nalaxone, which is a drug that can be administered to reverse most opioid overdoses.

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