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Needle danger

Monday, 6th February, 2017

Some of the syringes scattered in Schlapp Street yesterday. Some of the syringes scattered in Schlapp Street yesterday.

By Michael Murphy

A local worker was disgusted to find syringes strewn all over the road yesterday morning, and he was frustrated he couldn’t get any help to clean it up.

About a dozen needles and packaging were in the middle of Schlapp Street, just off Iodide and before the road hits the regeneration area.

Most of the needles were unused and they appeared to be free “fitpacks” dispensed by the local hospital. Rubbish was also flung into nearby scrub.

“I’ve personally come up here and picked up rubbish before - old barbecues, chairs, garbage, needles - but not as bad as this,” said the man, who wished to remain anonymous. He was on his way to work when he made the disturbing discovery.

He suspects the occupants of a nearby household held a party and used needles to inject drugs.

“They have definitely had a party, you’ve only got to have a look at the house,” he said.

The man was particularly cautious about handling the needles because one of his relatives had been stabbed by two used needles while using a whipper-snipper at a public park.

“It’s about three months you wait to find out whether you’ve caught something,” he said. “It’s a pretty serious situation.”

He wanted the mess cleaned up as soon as possible, and he rang the police. When the police didn’t arrive, he carefully picked up the syringes and took them down to the station.

Police told the man to take the syringes to the hospital, where he disposed of them.

He said the street was a thoroughfare for children, motorbike riders and joggers, and the discarded syringes posed a serious threat.

“You’ve got young ones that ride their motorbikes up and down here, they sneak through the back here,” he said.

“Then you’ve got young ladies that jog up and down here, usually in the morning or in the evening when it’s cool.

“And you’ve got little kids going up and down, riding their pushbikes out on the road.

“And you’ve got syringes lying everywhere.

“This is just out of control.”

The local hospital dispenses thousands of free “fitpack” kits each year. They contain syringes, a disposable spoon, a vial of sterile water and sterile swabs.

Local police have previously said the use of syringe injected drugs, such as amphetamine, has had a dramatic increase with the dispensing of fitpacks.

But government studies have shown that clean needle programs prevent the spread of disease and reduce long-term health costs, and also act as a referral point for those wanting to begin drug treatment.

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