Pubdate: Tue, 08 Apr 2008
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2008 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Laura Fraser
Bookmark: (Hepatitis)


Cops Not Testing Syringes Found Wedged Point Up In New Waterford Park Bench

NEW WATERFORD - Two fresh needles coated in blood were  found embedded
upright in a park bench this weekend,  barely 24 hours after police
picked up seven syringes  in the area.

Cape Breton Regional Police believe the angle of the  hypodermic
needles discovered at Colliery Lands Park  suggests malicious intent,
a spokesman for the force  said Monday.

And this type of random attack could have deadly  consequences if the
needles were tainted with disease,  Const. Gary Fraser said.

"The creepiness is what's bothering everyone about  this," Const.
Fraser said. "If (the perpetrator) is an  IV drug user and they know
they have (a) disease, then  they know they could be harming innocent

None of the nine needles found Friday and Saturday were  going to be
tested for HIV or other infectious  diseases. Instead, police said
anyone who might have  been pricked by a needle should see his or her
family  doctor.

No one has reported being stuck by a needle, the  officer

Blood-borne diseases like HIV, hepatitis B and  hepatitis C can be
transmitted by needle. If someone is  stuck by a needle, there is the
risk of being exposed  to another person's blood, according to the
website for  the Simcoe Muskoka district health unit in Ontario. If
the original needle user was infected with a  blood-borne disease,
there is a chance it could be  spread to someone else.

Police found seven needles Friday after a New Waterford  resident
called in and said she saw some of them  sticking out of a bench.
Police did a sweep of the park  and found that most of the needles had
been wedged into  the benches so that they would stab anyone who sat

Const. Fraser found two more needles Saturday. This  time, the needles
had blood on them.

Street drugs are still widely available in the  community, said
Frankie Morrison, the regional  councillor for New Waterford.

But although park workers "quite often" find discarded  needles, Mr.
Morrison said the recent police discovery  is "a brand new ball game."
The councillor said he has  never before heard of people leaving
behind syringes  with the intention of harming someone.

Local parents of young addicts have been trying to get  support from
the province and Ottawa for a youth detox  centre in Cape Breton, but
it's a slow process, the  councillor said.

And unless people get clean, police will keep finding

"It's pretty impossible to catch people at it," Mr.  Morrison said.
"You'd have to keep a policeman at every  corner, every park. We all
know the kids go down  there."

New Waterford resident Colleen MacDonald said she still  feels safe
walking outside, but she's shocked someone  would try to hurt others
at random.

"It poses a threat not only to children, but to  everyone."

Police are increasing their patrols in Colliery Lands  Park and the
surrounding neighbourhoods. No arrests had  been made by late Monday.
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