By: Rachel Ventura
There’s a rising trend in our communities that is terrifying. My children and I have personally witnessed this, and there have been recent news stories confirming that it’s happening more and more. Discarded hypodermic needles found in public places. Even more horrific, is that they are usually found near playgrounds.
Last summer, my children and I walked to the elementary school across the street from our house to play on the playground. Just as we were walking into the entrance of the playground, I happened to look down, and there was a syringe, uncapped, laying on the sidewalk. I felt sick to my stomach. I immediately called the police and while we waited for them to arrive, I had to explain the dangers of hypodermic needles to my children. To my 2 and 4 year old children.
Then last month, while we were visiting family in Florida, we stopped at a nice playground to have some fun, and sitting in the parking lot, was another hypodermic needle. I again explained to my children how dangerous these could be. I let them know never, ever to touch something like that. If they ever do find one, to tell an adult right away. And again, to never touch it, no matter what.
It’s a sad, scary world we live in. So many dangers, everywhere you turn. But this trend, to me as a parent, might be the scariest. Why are these things being left around? Especially at playgrounds and other places where kids play and have fun?? Not only is the thought of a child, or anyone, getting pricked with one of these needles terrifying, but the fact that heroin is so prevalent and common, is downright petrifying.
There was a recent article posted by WCVB5 about the Massachusetts towns hit hardest with heroin overdose deaths. The town I live in, Stoughton, was ranked #20. So scary! I know it’s everywhere, but this list really makes you open your eyes, and makes me so sad for our future generation. I guess I’m very fortunate to not know anyone with this addiction. I can only imagine how difficult it must be.
I’m not sure there is anything that can be done. I will just continue to keep my eyes wide open and try to protect my children, and any others. I will also keep educating my children about the dangers of these needles and the drug they administer. And I encourage you to as well. It may seem they are too young, but they’re not. You may think it’s not possible near your house or where your kids play, but it is. We all know how curious kids can be. Kids see Doc McStuffins and their own doctors and nurses using syringes. They have play doctor sets that include shots. If they do not know the dangers involved, they will pick them up. And they may get pricked. And I don’t even want to think about what may happen after that. Please, talk to your kids, about the dangers of needles and drugs, no matter how young, or old. Communication is key.