Local News

Study Says I-95 May Contribute to Spreading Syphilis

Posted February 28, 1999

— Interstate 95 has been called a drug pipeline. Now, it has a new name that is just as uncomplimentary, the syphilis corridor.

A new study found counties bordering the interstate have much higher rates of the sexually transmitted disease.

Authorities have problems with drugs and prostitutes at stops from Florida to New York. The only way to stop it is with non-stop policing.

OneCumberland Countyinterstate rest stop used to be crawling with prostitutes and drug dealers. They were targeting lonely truckers with money.

Authorities believe many of the prostitutes had sexually transmitted diseases.

"They come up to the door and just ask if you're interested in any company for the evening. I'm happily married, so I say no, be polite to them and hope they go away," explained truck driver Dave McFarlane.

The problem got so out of hand that the stateDepartment of Motor Vehiclesbegan policing the area 23 out of 24 hours.

But, authorities say the prostitutes target anywhere truckers and other motorists like to stop.

"When the traveling motorist or the truck driver was in the rest area taking a break or taking a rest, they would go from truck to truck to bang on the trucks asking them for dates and stuff like that," said DMV Capt. J.F. Jones.

The syphilis-interstate connection means Cumberland County health workers will be asking a new round of questions to those infected.

"I think for the future we'll probably get a better handle on whether or not the persons who come in to seek service here have in any way been exposed along the I-95 corridor," said Shirley Mozingo of the Cumberland County health department.

When patrolling the interstates, if DMV officers see someone they think is a prostitute, they'll warn them.

If they catch them in the same spot after the warning, they will charge them with trespassing.


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