April 7, 2008
New Waterford, Nova Scotia is a sleepy Canadian fishing village with about 7,000 residents and a picturesque lighthouse. Every July, the “Coal Dust Days” festival (sounds healthy, eh?) celebrates the community’s mining heritage. The mines have long since closed and, along with high unemployment, substance abuse plagues the Cape Breton community. The painkiller OxyContin is a notable problem, but not the only one. Someone has been sabotaging park benches in the town with dozens of dirty hypodermic needles, some still blood-filled, pointing straight up between the wooden slats. The needles could potentially infect people who sit on them with Hepatitis C or the HIV virus.
The needles were first spotted last Thursday by a pedestrian walking in Colliery Lands Park in New Waterford. Three more needles were found sticking upright in a park bench on Friday, with seven other needles scattered nearby. Two more needles, with dried blood in them, were found on Saturday. Constable Gary Fraser, of the Cape Breton Regional Police, told CTV: “It’s not littering…It’s maliciously setting these needles up for someone to get stuck with.” Fraser said that the park isn’t the only place where the needles have been found. “We are finding them behind door handles in some public buildings…on steps and on hand rails,” he added. Dozens more needles were also found in a downtown New Waterford park.
The Cape Breton Post reported on Monday that additional needles with dried blood on them have been found. Local citizens are calling for camera installation in the parks. Constable Fraser told the Chronicle Herald of Nova Scotia that: “There was definitely intent to harm, no doubt about it.” If apprehended, the suspect could face assault or mischief charges. Terroristic threatening sounds like an appropriate charge as well.
Read more Canadian health news.
Photo credits: Robert Chant & Donna Tynski, CTV
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