Dirty needles left behind by drug users have become so prevalent in parks that some public health agencies are leaning on citizens to clean them up.
Dirty needles littering public parks may sound like a relic of 1980s drug use and urban decay. But as America's opioid crisis has worsened in recent years, governments are once again confronted with the problem. This time, however, the issue isn't confined to big cities.
"It's a visible reminder of what we're facing," says Jessica Grondin, who works in the city manager's office in Portland, Maine.
Coming into contact with used needles left behind by drug users presents a public health hazard. It exposes people to illicit substances like heroin and fentanyl, and could put them at risk of contracting blood-borne illnesses like hepatitis C and HIV.