The number of discarded needles recently found on a footpath on Old Maitland Road at East Cessnock has raised concerns among local residents.
Chantelle Moffet and Stephanie Ekert say they have seen several needles along the path between Long Street and Alkira Avenue during the past two weeks.
“I walk along here every day, and nearly every day there’s a different lot,” Ms Moffet said.
“I was so angry … a kid could have picked that up.”
Ms Ekert said lots of young families lived in the area.
“A lot of kids walk or ride their bikes on that path,” she said.
“It makes me so cranky to think my kids, or any child for that matter, could stand on these needles.”
Ms Moffet said she found two lots of needles the week before last, and more were found last Thursday.
She reported the needles to police and the NSW Health Needle Clean-Up Hotline.
Anyone who finds a discarded needle or syringe should call the Needle Clean-Up Hotline on 1800 633 353 (1800 NEEDLE).
The Needle Clean-Up Hotline is a call centre that takes reports from the public and coordinates the clean-up of dumped needles and syringes in public places anywhere in NSW.
Hunter New England Health harm minimisation program manager Ken O’Neill said the Needle Clean-Up Hotline forwarded information it received about the region’s discarded needles to the Newcastle-based program, which coordinated the retrieval of the needles.
“Both the program and Hunter New England Health Drug and Alcohol Services, based in Cessnock, are responsible for the removal of the needles,” Mr O’Neill said.
“The local council also assists when required.
“We recognise the need to dispose of discarded needles promptly when discovered in the community.
“All hotline referrals are treated as urgent and acted on as quickly as possible.”
Safe sharps disposal units are available at hospitals and some pharmacies.