A mum’s photo of a pile of intravenous needles on a busy street has sparked heated debate online.
Belle Wooderson, a resident of Dubbo in NSW’s Central West, posted a photo of the needles she found on Sunday.
The pile was found outside her home which isn’t far from Dubbo South Public School.
“Sick to death of seeing and having to clean up dangerous stuff,” she wrote.
“Thank goodness the kids are on holidays from school.”
Fellow residents were appalled by the “disgusting” find.
“Putrid,” one woman wrote. Another called the find “plain disgusting”.
Suggestions to address Dubbo drug problem
The discovery of needles have also started a debate as to what the best way is to deal with drug use.
“Make a needle exchange program,” one man wrote.
However, some people argued it wouldn’t work and would be a “waste of money”.
One woman called for increased surveillance in the area with CCTV.
“Good idea, they’ll find somewhere else but at least it’ll be away from the school,” another woman wrote in response.
Others called for harsher penalties on people who don’t bin them properly.
“If they can fine someone for a cigarette butt, they should do the same with these dirty, brainless idiots and they should put cameras up randomly to catch them, this is filth,” another woman wrote.
Dubbo has a container disposal at its community health centre and at a local chemist.
It also has 11 other single needle disposal spots.
Safe Sharps disposal programs
Ms Wooderson told Yahoo News Australia finding needles is “nothing unusual”.
But she’s concerned people aren’t being told how to properly dispose of their needles.
“I have neighbours who also have children that attend the school,” she said.
“They often walk or scooter to school and I’ve since had to make them aware of what I’ve found.
“It’s frustrating forever having to be vigilant and on-guard to protect myself and innocent primary school children and local neighbours.”
NSW has a Safe Sharps program which helps anyone using a needle find a safe spot to dispose of it via the use of an interactive map
It’s an initiative of the Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils (REROC), supported by Diabetes NSW and the NSW Ministry of Health.
A Dubbo Regional Council spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia anyone who comes across discarded needles is urged to contact council about them.
“However, in the first instance, people are encouraged to dispose of their needles and syringes in a safe manner after use,” the spokesperson said.
“For safety of residents, there are containers in most of our public toilets for used syringes. Specific disposal requirements apply, preventing them from being disposed of in general waste (e.g. wheelie bins at home or general rubbish bins in the park).
The spokesperson added NSW Health has several sharps disposal bins around Dubbo including the Dubbo Base Hospital and Community Health Centre on the corner of Cobra and Palmer streets.
“Safety is paramount for residents, and staff, so if Council is asked to respond to reports of needles, the correct PPE is always worn, and needles are placed into containers safely, where they can be disposed of properly,” the spokesperson said.
A Western NSW Local Health District spokesperson added “while all efforts are made to educate clients regarding appropriate disposal of sharps, we rely on each individual to do the right thing”.
“If residents find needles in public places they should not attempt to dispose of them, instead the first point of contact is the NSW Needle Clean-Up Hotline via 1800 633 353,” the spokesperson said.
“The Needle Clean-Up Hotline is a call centre that takes reports from the public and coordinates the clean-up of dumped needles and syringes in public places anywhere in NSW. The hotline is staffed Monday to Friday: 9am-4pm, with an answering machine at other times.”
It’s understood police aren’t investigating this matter.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.