Maryanne Johnston and her son Wiley, 3, found used needles at Tony Merrell Park at Leichhardt.
Maryanne Johnston and her son Wiley, 3, found used needles at Tony Merrell Park at Leichhardt. Cordell Richardson

Pointy issue: Leichhardt's 'needle park'

IMAGINE the disgust you would feel when taking your kids and dogs to the park, only to come across used needles.

This grubby act has happened multiple times to a young Leichhardt mother and she now wants to warn others of the dangers of used drug paraphernalia.

Maryanne Apiata said she was left feeling "gross" and unsure if she'll return to with her three-year-old boy to play at Tony Merrell Park in Leichhardt.

The first time Ms Apiata found one needle, and this time three needles, which were thankfully cleaned up by a thoughtful passerby.

"I walked down there with my three year old son, we were taking the dogs for a walk," Ms Apiata said.

"I don't want to take my kid there again. The playground area is all bark so you don't really know if it's under the bark or if there's anything else there.

"It just makes you feel gross and that it's unsafe for kids to play."

Needle disposal locations:

  • Leichhardt Park - 1A Ernest Street, Leichhardt in toilets (single use syringe only, not kits)
  • Cobb & Co. Heritage Park - 27 John Street, Rosewood (single syringe use only, not kits)
  • Riverheart Parklands - 20 Bremer Street, Ipswich in toilets near the railway bridge (single syringe use only, not kits)
  • Cameron Park - 95A Brisbane Road, Booval - opposite number 10 Easton Street (single syringe use only, not kits)
  • Entrance to Ipswich Health Plaza - Bell Street Ipswich near car park entrance (large bin for syringe container disposal)
  • Goodna Community Health Centre - 81 Queen Street, Goodna entrance to car park (large bins for syringe container disposal)
  • Browns Park - 29 Downs Street, North Ipswich in toilets (single syringe use only, not kits)
  • Langley Park - 7 Bruce Lane, Camira in toilet attached to the Hall (single syringe use only, not kits)

Ms Apiata said it's not indicative of Leichhardt's population either. "It's quite a quiet neighbourhood," she said.

"We went around the park and then to the playground area, and that's where (the needles) were underneath the table and chairs.

"It's just gross, it's a family area, you want your kids to be able to play safely and it's just ugh - it's even gross for adults to be around that sort of thing as well.

"Even with my dogs - even just the dogs I was worried about because you just don't know."

Ms Apiata was even sceptical about what council can do to allay the problem.

An Ipswich City Council spokesperson said locals should contact them for needles found in public toilets, council parks and reserves, or council owned or controlled public areas.

"Council will have a responsible officer inspect the area ASAP," they said, "A discarded needle in a public place could cause a needle stick injury and possibly serious health concerns.

"To try and reduce the risk of a need stick injury occurring, it's important that the public become aware of how and where they can dispose of needles safely."

Queensland Health recommend the safest way to dispose of a needle is by picking it up by the middle of the barrel, find a puncture-proof sealable container, drop the needle in the container pointy end first, and drop it to a sharps disposal bin.

If it is not possible for the customer to access these sharps disposal resources, they are still legally allowed to place the contained needle into their domestic Council rubbish bin," the spokesperson said.



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