A mother from Methil has issued a stark warning to other parents and residents in the area after her little boy picked up a used syringe.
Denise Jamieson who lives on the town’s Kirkland Walk, was dismayed to discover that her five-year-old son Bryan had picked the dirty needle up on his way home from Aberhill Primary School.
Walking through Heriott Crescent, Bryan saw the needle in a trailer in someone’s garden, and not realising the dangers, he picked it up and was pricked by the needle.
One of his friends ran to his grandmother’s house, and the mother of another friend came to his aid after she heard him crying.
The police and an ambulance were called and Bryan was taken to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.
Denise said: “I was at work when it happened. The mother of Bryan’s friend phoned my partner and he went down.”
Bryan had to have Hepititis B and C jags, and the family face an anxious wait for the results.
“At the hospital, when they put in my address, they said we lived in a ‘red zone’ because of the high number of drug users,” said Denise.
“I think it’s disgusting. More needs to be done to prevent this from happening.”
Luckily, doctors have told Denise and her partner that it is highly unlikely that Bryan could have contracted HIV, but there was residue in the needle, which means he is now on a course of antibiotics and will have to go back for follow up appointments for the next two months.
“Bryan is confused about what happened,” said Denise. “I have four other kids, one of them is younger than Bryan, so it’s worrying.
“I want to make other parents aware that this can happen. The parents of Bryan’s friends were disgusted too, because a lot of kids walk through Heriott Crescent to get to Kirkland Walk.”
Dr Margaret Hannah, NHS Fife deputy director of public health, said: “Although the risks are low, discarded needles found by members of the public have the potential to be contaminated and cause infection if they puncture the skin.
“If you are injured by one you should encourage bleeding of the affected area by squeezing (do not suck) and if possible wash the area with soap and water. If your eyes or mouth are involved, irrigate with clean water for 1-2 minutes. Go to Accident & Emergency Department where staff will assess the potential risk and provide further treatment if necessary.”
If you find a discarded needle on public land you should not handle it but contact Fife Council by calling 03451 550022 between 8.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m., giving your contact details and location.
Martin Denholm, service manager at DAPL, said: “It is with great regret that there are a minority of individuals within our communities who don’t dispose of needles safely; however I stress this is a minority. Within the substance misuse services there is a zero tolerance to unsafe discards, as there are a range of ways for individuals to dispose of needles safely.
“To minimise risk to members of the public especially children, DAPL would like to stress the importance of reinforcing the ‘Dont touch, tell a grown up’ message. It is very important to educate our children to the dangers of touching needles in the same way as we approach road safety.”