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New Yorkers Report Rampant Drug Use In City's Subway System As Temps Plunge

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As the temperatures start to plunge and the calendar turns to December, New Yorkers across all five boroughs are reporting increased drug use on the city's subways and inside the stations.

Needles and baggies were seen scattered on the floor of an uptown C train, a disturbing sight some say has become far too familiar during their daily commutes.

"Every day I see people nodding out on the floor hanging out," Washington Heights resident Janelle Ramirez said. "It's crazy."

NYC Needles On Subway Floor
Needles, syringes strewn about subway floor. (credit: CBS2)

CBS2 crews also spotted several people within a span of several minutes who appeared to be in some kind of altered states. At the 168th Street station in upper Manhattan, one person was slumped near the entrance and another on a staircase nearby nodding off with a lighter in hand.

Straphangers say it's been going on for months, but seems to be getting worse inside the subway system because the weather is getting colder outside.

"People need a place to be and they can't be out in like 19 degree weather," Germainne LeBron said.

The NYPD tells CBS2 in the past month alone, cops have issued 150 tickets and made 17 arrests at the 168th, 181st, and 190th Street stations, adding the department is aware of narcotics-related activity in the area.

"I definitely think they should do something about the drug use," Washington Heights resident Leslie Soto said.

CBS2 asked the NYPD and MTA to discuss the matter on-camera, but both declined. The MTA referred CBS2's request to the NYPD, which said uniformed and plainclothes officers have been patrolling the stations to address neighbors' concerns.

"We have families and kids and it's horrible," Ramirez said. "The city should step in."

With winter just around the corner, commuters are left worrying if the issue will simply persist throughout the season. Some in Washington Heights say they plan on voicing their concerns at an upcoming community board meeting in hopes of seeing change in their neighborhood.

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