Pubdate: Thu, 04 Oct 2012
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Tiffany Crawford
Page: A10


A Vancouver woman was shocked to find a toy shaped like a hypodermic
needle complete with fake blood in the Halloween section of a
Kitsilano drugstore.

Wendy Dalton was shopping at her local Shoppers Drug Mart on Broadway
this week when she came across a bucket full of what looked like
syringes featuring either blue or red liquid and a plunger.

She was troubled to see children pretending to shoot up with the
plastic novelty pens.

Dalton was curious what other people would think, so she bought two
pens and began conducting her own poll around her neighbourhood and on
the bus.

"Everyone was so upset, horrified really," she said.

Dalton called the drugstore's head office and said she was told they
would pull the toy from the shelves. Calls made Wednesday to a
Shoppers Drug Mart spokeswoman were not returned.

Novelty syringe pens began showing up in dollar stores at least four
years ago. They are widely available online and it is not illegal to
sell them.

Consumers can purchase the pens on eBay or in packs of 60 in four
different colours for around $ 20 at Amazon. com, for example.

The pens are billed as a fun medical themed item, particularly for
nurses and doctors to use in their offices.

But Dalton argues it's time for stores to do the right thing and pull
the novelty syringes off the shelves.

"It's not part of a nurse's kit or something like that," she said.
"This is a needle on its own that claims to be for ages four and up."

Other online stores sell a Dexter novelty syringe pen filled with fake
blood that is meant to represent the syringe that TV character Dexter
Morgan, a serial killer and forensics expert, uses to tranquilize his

While some think the pens are just a bit of cheeky fun, Dalton takes
the matter very seriously, and is concerned the pens might make kids
think that real syringes are safe.

Children, she warned, might see a needle lying on the ground, think it
is a novelty pen and try to use it.
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