Today is the day you have been waiting for. You have promised your daughter that as soon as it stops raining you will take her to the park, push her on the swings and spin her as fast as you can on the merry-go-round. You know five year olds don't forget, so as soon as the sun broke through the blinds she was jumping on your bed to wake you up and go. The day was as planned, warm sunny day, park open and ready for play and you are with your best girl who thinks you're the greatest. As your perfect day comes to a close your princess asks for one more push on the swing. Of course you agree as it's the great ending to you greatest day parenting ever. You give her that last push and she jumps off swing yelling out S-U-P-E-R-G-I-R-L. In the middle of your pride for her being so bold and fear of having to explain her broken arm you notice something in her landing path. You heart sinks and a cold feeling takes over because when you look closer your innocent angel is about to land on a used syringe. Your next thought is "Am I fast enough? This graphic description of a day in the park is an all too common occurrence and the reason I picked the question, is the needle exchange program an ethical solution to the problem of used syringes being left behind at parks and recreation areas and prevention of diseases in IV drug users?.
In the United States (and beyond) we have a drug problem. There are an estimated 21millilon people over the age of 12 addicted to illicit drugs (drugwarfacts.org). A large number of them are intravenous (IV) drug users. These drug users are not particular about where they "shoot up" * or where they leave their used needles. It makes no difference to them if they dump it in an alley or in public areas such as a recreation centers or parks. No matter where they are discarded, the problem of used syringes showing up in common areas in one of great concern. According to Emily Sinovic, KATU News (2014, July15), Earlier this year a child in Portland Ore, found a used syringe at a park and poked herself in the leg stating "it looked like a toy from the play doctors kit at home" (KATU.