Needle Stick Horror

As a parent of five girls, aged  from 9 months to almost 12 years old, I have to say this story makes me very angry. The selfishness of some drug addict to leave a needle in a McDonald’s play area so that a 6 year old girl suffers a needlestick injury beggars belief. There is no excuse. No intravenous drug user is that out of it they are not aware of what they are doing. So they discard their needles wherever they do on purpose. Either because they respect the health and safety of others and thus they discard them appropriately or they don’t give a rat’s bum and drop them anywhere they wish. Then there are those who do evil things like this on purpose.

Of course we still don’t know if the needle was discarded by a druggie. Nor do we know if it is infected with anything. This could be an attempt to obtain money from the restaurant or to discredit them for whatever reason. McDonald’s are a popular target for many. For the sake of this post, let us presume it is an infected needle left there by a drug user, either on purpose or simply because they didn’t bother to think about the consequences.

I have little to no sympathy for drug addicts. As a former smoker I fully empathise with the whole addiction thing and how hard it is to kick a habit. Some experts claim nicotine is more addictive than heroin and much harder to quit. Well I quit and while I confess I still have cravings the bottom line is I no longer pollute my body or the atmosphere, not do I swell the coffers of the government and the tobacco companies. If I can do it, why can’t everyone? I am oh so boringly average in so many ways, more than I like to admit so if I can, anyone can.

I chose to smoke as all addicts choose their habits. I then chose to be in charge and quit and after  several years and multiple attempts I managed it. So can anyone. I look now at the cigarette butts discarded in the bushes and gutters and shake my head as I too once threw away my butts with no thought for the environment. Mea Culpa. In Australia there are billions of cigarettes smoked every year. Billions. Where do the butts go? What about the ash? Regardless, it is still not as anti-social as leaving a needle in a kid’s playground, or anywhere for that matter.

We have to dig into the thinking of the addict, their mindset and figure out why they feel so useless and worthless that they need drugs to feel normal let alone good about themselves. Why do they discard their needles without care or, worse, deliberately and hoping they will inflict their misery on others? While we ponder that and the parents of the poor child in the story wait for the test results, spare a thought for how to avoid repeating this sad incident. How can we protect our kids and not wrap them in cotton wool?

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