Concern continues over the incidence of discarded needles in Sudbury. One concern was voiced recently by city resident and parent Omar Hajar, who wrote in a letter to the editor that he found syringes on the ground while out walking with his 20-month old daughter on a trail near his home on Cross Street, near Junction Creek.
He said he has found needles several times in the past year. Hajar said although he has contacted the city on several occasions to insist on a clean-up, the problem persists and he is concerned for his child's safety.
"I fear my daughter will get hurt or God forbid infected with HIV or Hepatitis C, and I fear my rage if something negative should ensue," Hajar wrote.
Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) responded to a request for information by advising that the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth (SACY) is the organization that works to collect discarded needles.
"SACY is contracted to do this work by the City of Greater Sudbury," said PHSD. "If needles are found on public property, members of the public can call 311 in Greater Sudbury to have them picked up."
In addition to this, there are several yellow needle disposal bins placed around the city, where the public can dispose of used syringes. PHSD does not recommend members of the public going out to clean up needles, but if there is a situation where needles must be picked up, PHSD has provided step-by-step information on how it can be done safely, using tongs, gloves and a sturdy plastic container.
Hajar said he hopes more public awareness will inspire city leaders to take action. He said he has asked his city councillor to urge police to have more bicycle patrols along the trails to discourage drug users, but he said the suggestion was not acted on.
Hajar said he was also told that the province has cut back on social spending "but I am not interested in excuses when my family's safety is in question," he wrote.
Len Gillis is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at Sudbury.com. He covers health care in Northern Ontario.
Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com