Bronx park littered with needles despite disposal boxes

Fox 5 found used syringes, orange syringe tops, exposed needles, half-cut straws used to snort heroin, bags of unused drugs, soda bottle tops used to cook heroin in a public park in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx just a few feet away from where children play and go to school.

Shamecca Ruiz, who lives nearby, is worried that she or her kids could get stuck by a needle. She said the problem has gotten worse and that she doesn't think addicts are bothering to use syringe-disposal boxes.

The city's Health and Parks departments placed the syringe-disposal boxes in several parks in the Bronx to deal with the thousands of needles picked up by sanitation workers each month. While some boxes are serving their purpose, a substantial number of IV drug users are clearly not bothering to dispose of their needles.

So a group of residents felt compelled to pitch in. Fox 5 spoke to them while they were sweeping the area and picking up syringes.

Nearby in a newly refurbished playground, the Parks Department bathrooms had syringe-disposal boxes. But both are now closed.

Disgusted mothers told me that the bathrooms became shooting galleries with needles everywhere—steps away from their children. They said desperate addicts ripped the box off the wall in the ladies room to get at the needles inside.

Many residents told Fox 5 that they want a clear, consistent message about drugs and drug use. They also want safe parks and streets for their families.