BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a picture that speaks to a crisis. A needle disposal box popped up right in front of Roxbury’s Orchard Gardens K-8 school this week, installed by the Boston Department of Public Health.
“I do believe that it is a little too big, excessive for it to be in front of the school like that,” said Francisco Diaz, whose son is a student at the school.
But five months ago, parents were out front protesting about the used drug needles littering the property around Orchard Gardens. That’s why Diaz says he understands why it’s there. “I’m kind of glad they’re doing something,” said Diaz.
One community activist says the needle box has not made a difference. “These things are embedded into the ground,” said Domingos DaRosa, picking up several used needles from the ground. “In a matter of two seconds, we just, we have four needles here.”
DaRosa is a father and a youth coach who spends a lot of time cleaning up piles of discarded needles. He took a WBZ news crew a block away and across the street from Orchard Gardens, in front of a school bus lot. The grounds were covered with needles. “We’re less than 100 yards away from the disposal box, and we can fill a container in less than 10 seconds,” he said.
DaRosa says the new needle disposal site in front of the school is not the answer. “No, definitely not the answer, especially in front of the school ’cause now you’re promoting for addicts to get high right by the school,” he said.
Mayor Marty Walsh says parents should use it as a teaching opportunity. “People are concerned if there are needles there. People are concerned if there’s a box there. I mean, I think what we’re trying to do is keep the needles off the street.”
According to Boston’s 311 app, almost 1,600 people called to report they found needles on the ground so far this year. Last year, it was nearly 4,700.