Retailers experiment with blue lights to deter drug use

In this June 22, 2018 photo, a public bathroom bathed in blue light is seen at this Turkey Hill convenience store in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The chain has installed the blue light bulbs in as many as 20 stores in hopes of discouraging drug use by making it harder for people to see their veins. (AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam)
In this June 22, 2018 photo, a sign outside a public bathroom hangs at this Turkey Hill convenience store in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The chain has installed blue light bulbs in some of its stores in hopes of discouraging drug use by making it harder for people to see their veins. (AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam)

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Some retailers are installing blue lights in their bathrooms to discourage people from injecting themselves with drugs by making it more difficult to see their veins. 

Turkey Hill Minit Markets in Pennsylvania is using the lights in as many as 20 of its stores in hard-hit neighborhoods. The chain is taking part in a research project into the lights' effectiveness. A company official says the lights have dramatically reduced opioid use in the bathrooms.

Earlier studies have questioned the lights' deterrent effect. Many public health experts oppose the practice. They say the blue lights make people more likely to hurt themselves.

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