Expert warns disturbing theory over tiny marks spotted on loo roll is false
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An advocate for drug harm reduction has hit back at disturbing claims made about tiny marks found on toilet rolls in public toilets after they were shared online.
In the clip, a TikToker alleged that intravenous drug users were 'cleaning their bloody drug needles' by pushing them into rolls of toilet paper, leaving red spots visible on the roll.
The claim has more recently been picked up by another TikTok account, who claimed last week that people needed to 'get out as fast as possible' if they spotted marks on their toilet paper in public restrooms.
"Keep in mind, if you are using this toilet paper to clean yourself, all it takes is one tiny drop of blood to enter your system. You could easily contract a lifelong virus," they alleged.
Dozens of TikTokers have responded to say the claim had unlocked a 'new fear', but Harm Reduction Services have said there's actually no truth to the claim.
In their video, the advocate explained that cleaning needles on rolls of toilet paper was 'ridiculous' on a practical level as needles dull 'very quickly'.
"Using dull needles is not only harmful to your health, but also incredibly painful," she explained. "Nobody is going to try to clean needles by sticking them in something solid.
"If someone is going to clean needles to reuse them, 1) they're going to do it with a liquid... and 2) that means we failed them as a society that they're in a place that they have to do that."
The advocate's claims have been backed by fact-checking website Snopes, which has noted that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Drug Abuse both said they are not aware of intravenous drug users cleaning needles by stabbing them into rolls of toilet paper as a common practice.
A spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Health added: "We have never heard of this. This practice seems extremely unlikely because the tip of the needle could break off if one tried to stab it through a toilet paper roll.
"I'm not sure why someone would risk that if what they wanted was to use the same needle for another shot.
"Logically it would be much easier to wipe off the tip with some toilet paper rather than stabbing it through the roll."
In spite of the experts' comments on the matter, the claims about drug users cleaning needles on toilet paper continues to circulate.
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