A group of Massachusetts friends made a disturbing discovery over the weekend while cleaning a local playground.
Sam Balto said the group went to the Gertrude Howes Playground on Moreland Street in Roxbury on Friday and Saturday and discovered about four dozen hypodermic needles laying in various areas.
"Broken glass. Litter. Clothing," said Nadine Riggs of the stray items they found at the park. "I think our biggest challenge was finding needles. Finding needles with caps on and caps off."
Some people made a statement out of the discovery, spelling out "Marty" in needles - calling for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to take action.
After calling Boston Police, the city's Mobile Sharps Team was notified and began the process of cleaning up the area.
Balto, who is a teacher, said, "I mean, my students play here so I'm here to make it safe for them to run around and play."
Neighborhood parents said that, in the past, they've just told their children to avoid the rocky area of the park, because that's where most of the drug use happens.
Laura Oggeri, a spokesperson for Walsh's office, said in a statement that, as part of the FY18 budget, the city has proposed making a bigger investment in the Mobile Sharps Team.
"The $3.15 billion budget proposal represents an increase of $148.5 million, or 5 percent, over the FY17 budget, and follows 27 City Council hearings that identified opportunities for further targeted investments, while still balancing sustainability and fiscal responsibility," Oggeri said in a statement.
The budget would include doubling the capacity of the Mobile Sharps Team to pick up more improperly discarded hypodermic needles.
Last year, more than 20,000 needles were collected by the team throughout Boston.