AN Invercargill child made a nasty discovery last week when she came across a needle and syringe dumped at the cricket grounds in Appleby, the second time she had made such a discovery in less than 12 months.
Her concerned mother Darnielle Bishop is disgusted and deeply concerned by the potentially lethal find.
“What if it wasn’t my 11-year-old daughter who found it? What if it had been a three-year-old child?”
Her daughter Aaliyah and her cousin found a used needle and syringe at the cricket grounds in January.
Last week, her daughter made a second discovery, a small tin containing a syringe and a bottle labelled prescription methadone medication among a large amount of rubbish dumped in bushes behind the boxing gym on the corner of Ythan St and Balmoral Dr in South Invercargill.
Ms Bishop said she was concerned for the safety of animals and children who walked past the site to and from school, played in the trees and made huts in the bushes.
Fortunately her daughter knew of the dangers and had not touched it, but younger children would not have understood the risks, she said.
The rubbish looked “inviting” to children as it contained magazines, DVDs and children’s photos, she said.
“If I was a kid I probably would have rummaged through it.”
Ms Bishop called the Police, who were unable to remove it immediately, so she then called the Invercargill City Council (ICC) and the items were removed soon afterwards.
She wanted to raise awareness of the dangers associated with coming into contact with used needles and syringes.
Her message was firstly to the person/people who dumped the rubbish “Don’t dump rubbish. It is not that expensive to drop it at the dump.
“Our kids should be able to walk to school or play and not come across stuff like that.”
She also encouraged parents to educate their children about the dangers associated with needles and syringes.
ICC interim parks and recreation manager Michele Frey said their rangers reported finding drug paraphernalia on a fortnightly basis, and staff were regularly finding plastic bags which appeared to have contained drugs.
“We have worked with Southland Harm Reduction Programme (SHRP) Needle Exchange, an organisation which has provided our staff with sharps bins, kept in the glovebox of their vehicles.
“This means our staff are able to safely dispose of any needles. When full, we return the bins to SHRP, and they dispose of them.”
It was recommended the public did not touch anything which could cause them injury, she said.
For more information about how to safely dispose of used needles and syringes, go to www.healthinfo.org.nz/patientinfo/215024.pdf or phone SHRP on (03) 214 1576.