‘Dirty’ drug needles dumped on Burnley streets

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A MUM-OF-FOUR has called for action to rid Burnley’s streets of “dirty” drug needles after finding syringes stashed near her home twice in one week.

Kelly Decruz, of Clifton Street, was horrified when youngsters discovered used needles and bloodied tissues dumped in a grit bin last week.

But just seven days later she said more drug paraphernalia and empty bottles of methadone, a heroin substitute, have been thrown in a garden near her home.

Mrs Decruz is terrified a child could suffer the same fate as her son who cut himself on a discarded needle 10 years ago when he was just four years old.

She said: “I don’t want my child stabbing with a needle again. I have been there – I know what it feels like as a parent.

“My son was only four. He found one on the street and picked it up and he cut his thumb.

“They had to do blood tests to make sure he did not have HIV or Hepatitis C.

“There was weeks and weeks of waiting – it was horrible. Luckily he was OK.

“No parent should have to go through that.”

Mrs Decruz lives close to the Inspire East Lancashire Integrated Substance Misuse Service which offers treatment and support for people with drug and alcohol issues.

The Westgate centre has a needle exchange but Mrs Decruz is calling for tighter controls to keep used syringes off the streets.

She said: “There is a needle exchange right there, but they are just dumping them in the streets.

“It is people like us who have to put up with the consequences.

“If they walk in without the needles they should not give them any more.”

Nichola Armitage, service user manager at Inspire, said it was unusual to hear of needle finds but said the organisation takes the matter very seriously.

“We run a very effective needle exchange programme. We have peer mentors who are service users coming towards the end of their treatment who go out into the community with grabbers to make sure there are no discarded needles.

“It is part of the recovery process to give back to the community.”

She said relationships are built with service users to encourage needle returns and numbers handed out can be restricted when they do not.

Ms Armitage said staff have gone out on a community sweep in the wake of the finds and hope to reassure the public.

She said Inspire had many success stories with people leaving the service drug and alcohol free, becoming volunteers, joining in with the Inspire choir which performs at care homes and getting back to work through the service’s catering enterprise.

She added: “We welcome any information regarding needle finds in the East Lancashire area.

“We hope there will be no more needle finds in the future.”