A four-year-old girl stumbled across a pile of syringes, vials and other drug paraphernalia while playing hide and seek in Tarring Park.
Mum Louise Humphrey, 39, of Parkfield Road in Worthing, said she was playing with her daughter yesterday afternoon (October 1) when they made the gruesome discovery.
She collected the implements and took them to her GP, to be told she could only dispose of them through Worthing Borough Council’s clinical waste disposal scheme.
She said she has been forced to wait with a bag of dirty needles until a ‘clean box’ is delivered on Wednesday and said the situation pointed to a ‘flawed system’.
“There was no surprise from the GP,” said Miss Humphrey, who is a registered general nurse. “Why are people so numb to this? Why is our society so numb to seeing needles and rubbish like this everywhere?”
“I felt angry and saddened. Angry that our society is so segregated. That some drug users are so far removed from reality and have such low self worth that they can’t consider others or themselves.”
Louise believed the littering made a mockery of West Sussex County Council’s needle exchange programme, which allows drug users to exchange their used needles for fresh ones at one of 60 centres across West Sussex.
The system is flawed, she suggested, until the council made it easier to dispose of drug paraphernalia or created ‘safe spaces’ for users to take drugs.
Her assertion that such incidents are on the rise in Tarring was shared by Tarring ward councillor Bob Smytherman.
He said: “Over the last few months drug-taking and dealing has been prominent in a number of parts of Tarring and I would encourage anyone witnessing any suspicious activity to dial 999 if it’s safe to do so, or alternatively after the event on 101 to enable police to get a picture of the seriousness of the offending.
“We are hoping to have a police presence at the next Tarring Community Forum on October 9 at 7pm at West Worthing Baptist Church, where everyone is welcome.”
West Sussex County Council has been approached for comment.