NEW CASTLE, Ind. – A 4-year-old girl on a walk with her grandma almost grabbed an exposed syringe.
An afternoon stroll is a typical occurrence for Jenny King and her granddaughter Zarinah.
"She loves to walk and she loves to play and she was picking up her sticks," King said.
It happened in an alley near downtown New Castle this week. Zarinah was playing with sticks and rocks when she bent down and nearly grabbed a syringe. King looked around and saw two more nearby, before grabbing Zarinah and pulling her away from the grass.
"I was livid that she about touched something like that," King said.
One needle was uncapped, with some blood on it. At least five needles were found within steps from the street.
"Kids walk, ride their bikes, they play hide-and-go-seek behind all the houses and the garages," King said.
Neighbor Tony Laird had seen it all in his backyard where his own grandchildren play nearby. He said he's seen pill bottles, needles, and even pregnancy tests.
"I don’t ever let her come out in the yard by herself. I don’t know what’s going to be in the yard. If she’s out here, I try to come check out the yard first," Laird said.
Drug task force members said finding five needles within a small space are a lot for an area like this.
"I was just floored that she was so close to something like that," King said. "These are our kids and this is their health."
New Castle Mayor Greg York said the city and county drug task force teams are actively working to stop drug dealers and users from dropping needles on city streets. In the last two weeks, The Henry County Area Drug Task Force team arrested more than 18 people for meth charges.
If you see a needled on the ground, don't touch it. Call police and they will come pick it up and put in a sterile container.