By WBZ NewsRadio
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — After two young Arlington girls were pricked by a discarded syringe near Gibbs Middle School, that community is in an uproar—and dirty needle danger is something Roxbury has been dealing with for a long time, WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal reports.
Regal joined Roxbury community activist Domingos Darosa on a walk outside the Orchid Gardens School, where they found five needles just a few feet off school property.
Darosa said he finds needle caps, plungers, narcan caps, prescription pill bottles, nips, beer cans, and more on school property. He would pick up needles from the football fields before coaching, and now can spot them like a hawk.
"You're gonna find trash, you're gonna find empty bottles of alcohol, you're gonna find caps to needles," Darosa said. "Saline to clean the needles out. You have, I call it the plunger portion of the syringe that actually pushes whatever fluid into the individuals. It's bananas."
The elementary school isn't far from Boston's Methadone Mile, and addicts frequently trespass on school property.
Boston Public Schools says custodians are sweeping the property three times a day, and new fencing for the school is out to bid.
The city's Parks Department is supposed to be assisting when it cleans the adjacent Orchid Park, but that contains a lot of trash, too.
When reached for comment, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh gave WBZ NewsRadio this statement:
"It is completely unacceptable for young children in the City of Boston to be exposed to needles of any kind, particularly while they are at school. We have taken steps to protect our students from the harm of the opioid epidemic by increasing the capacity of the Mobile Sharps Unit, prioritizing substance use education and prevention, and training staff on how to properly dispose of any encountered needle. To increase safety measures for Orchard Garden, officials will sweep the Orchard Garden's playground three times a day, and implement additional fencing, lighting and security around the school.”
At a community meeting last week, South End and Roxbury residents poured out their complaints regarding the needles that keep piling up, and said the city is doing far too little to protect kids. Darosa was there, and opened a plastic container filled with dirty needles on the floor of the community center—dozens he picked up on one trip to Clifford Park, a park where his kids play.
"None of you live on Douglas Street," he shouted. "We're the ones that got to deal with this. We're here to let the city know that we're tired of this! We don't want to hear what you're doing, we want to see what you're doing!"
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports