SAN ANTONIO — A southeast San Antonio resident went for a walk last week and stumbled upon a disturbing sight: A pile of drug paraphernalia at the entrance to a community center.
She found syringe products, straps and lighters on the entrance ramp to the James A. Bode Community Center and decided to clean up herself.
KENS 5 set out to learn solutions for those who make a similar discovery.
"What do we have to do to make sure our residents aren't being affected and doing something that essentially isn't their job," said Ryan Garza, President of the Highland Park Neighborhood Association.
Two months ago, a southeast side resident who lives in Highland Park voiced concerns about trash dumped outside the Bode Community Center off Rigsby.
"She's been finding syringes and seeing addicts shooting up, doing drugs at the park at night," Garza explained.
Garza says the woman alerted police, code enforcement and her council representative. But last week, the neighbor made another drug paraphernalia discovery on the community center's entrance ramp.
"In the mornings, when summer programs are kicking up and kids are walking by going to school and whatnot, she's seeing it in the morning. She walks in the park. Other residents are seeing it. She's picking it up on her own," said Garza. "Heaven forbid she should ever be poked by what she's picking up here at the park."
Clean-up responsibility falls on the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department.
Parks and Recreation administrators told KENS 5 in a statement, "Highland Park is serviced daily by the Parks and Recreation team. We recommend residents call 311 if they come across any dumped items. Our team is trained on the proper collection and disposal of these items."
That 311 number applies to all San Antonians who make a similar discovery. 311 is available every day of the week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. When you call, customer service agents will route your request to the appropriate department.
Health experts strongly urge against cleaning up drug paraphernalia yourself. The FDA says used needles can spread infections like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
If you are pricked by a needle, experts say to wash the exposed area right away with soap and water, rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer then seek immediate medical attention.
In the future, Highland Park residents request more visibility by Park Police to help alleviate the situation involving illegal dumping.