Eau Claire (WQOW)- A solemn place in Eau Claire, visited by thousands of people every year, has some unwanted guests.
You want to have peace when you visit a cemetery and not leave shaken by what you see. Cemetery workers have been finding evidence that hard drug use is going on.
"Crews finding needles, bloody bandages," remembers Assistant Sexton John Stuve. "We found blackened spoons, blackened can bottoms."
Workers at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Eau Claire say hard drug use has been on the rise there for the last two years.
"I hate to call it normal, but that's the direction it is heading," Stuve relents. "The crew up here just a couple weeks ago found a size 14 sneaker and just assumed that person was shooting into a vein in the foot and was so high they didn't even remember to put the shoe back on."
They believe heroin is the drug of choice. The upper west side of the cemetery has become the home for heroin use.
"It is in an isolated, dark area of the cemetery but there is a way in and a way out," Stuve explains. "So they know what they are doing. It is a quick escape out of the cemetery if they need to."
Those in charge of the cemetery have a few ideas on how to stop the problem. One would be to install a light pole near the telephone wire where a lot of this drug abuse takes place and another would be asking the neighbors for help.
"If there are cars driving through here at night, they have no business. Nobody is visiting a grave at night," states Stuve. "If you see a car pull in and the lights go out and it is dark out, they are probably up to no good. If you see suspicious activity, please give the police a call."
Eau Claire cemetery workers say this is also a concern at the Lakeview Cemetery and it's not confined to cemeteries. Eau Claire Police say four used needles were found at the entrance to the Eau Claire Wastewater Treatment Facility Tuesday. Police say they'll be checking that area more often now.
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