THE BRONX — It didn't take long for PIX11 cameras to find the source of a major problem at some Bronx parks. Used syringes with needles still attached littered St Mary's Park and could be seen near playgrounds, park benches and along the bushes and sidewalks.
After years of complaints from residents in the area, the city is doing something about it. As a part of Healing NYC, the de Blasio administration's initiative to combat the opioid epidemic, more than 60 syringe disposal kiosks will be placed in 16 parks across the Bronx.
"These kiosks that we are installing is just a measure of trying to address this situation," New York City Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa said.
The Parks Department estimates about 5,000 needles are picked up every single week by their employees in the Bronx. The kiosks were found to be successful in Vancouver and Seattle and were even implemented as a trial in Manhattan by the Washington Heights Corner Project. Executive Director Liz Evans believes it works to clean up a neighborhood, though she admits it does little to sway addicts from drug use.
"Certainly in the area here which is the area closest to the where the kiosk is, we've seen a noticeable decrease in drug paraphernalia and syringes,"
Two years ago, PIX11 showed you a daisy shaped kiosk placed in Washington Heights, where improperly disposed syringes were becoming a dangerous public safety issue. Since that day and last year alone, the group collected 240,000 syringes thanks to just one kiosk and outreach programs. The strategy is serving as a model for the de Blasio plan as it rolls out this week.
Installation of the kiosks will begin by the end of this week.