Do Blue Lights in Restrooms Work?

This summer, the Washington Post ran an article about convenience stores installing blue lights in their restrooms in an attempt to deter people from using them as a place to shoot up. Apparently the blue light makes it harder to see veins — and probably just about everything else.

I'd never heard of that strategy before, but it's been around for at least 10 years. In my brief survey on the subject, it seems to be deployed primarily in retail facilities, though these are not the only public facilities to have to contend with illegal drug use onsite. Schools, for one, are cautioned against dropped ceilings in restrooms as they become a handy stash location. 

The usage of blue lights struck me because it would impair the usability of the restroom facilities for the facility's intended patrons, and it wouldn't stop people from doing drugs in the bathroom. It would just make it harder. A 2013 survey of 18 injection drug users reported most wouldn't be deterred by the blue lights, and some even saw it as a challenge. In addition, having a harder time finding a vein has biohazard implications for the rest of the facility's users.

There are other modifications to restrooms which are recommended to deter illicit drug use in restrooms, or at least reduce its negative impact. But I'm curious if any of you have installed blue lights for this purpose. Is it working out as you'd hoped?

Related Content