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Used needles, syringes litter one of the only parks in the South Bronx

Used syringes, needles litter one of the Bronx's largest parks
Used syringes, needles litter one of the Bronx's largest parks 02:20

NEW YORK -- Residents who live around St. Mary's Park in the South Bronx say there is a large drug problem impacting the community. 

One resident said she's tired of seeing used needles and syringes scattered around the park in plain sight.

"This is a medical waste dump right here in St. Mary's Park," said Carmen Santiago, a 50-year resident of the neighborhood. 

There is no hiding the drug problem here. From syringes, bloody tissues, and even small bags with leftover sediments inside, Santiago explained this is just the norm.

"You can see, it's a drug den. You see the syringes right here," she showed CBS New York. "This is everyday sort of. You don't know if he's just sleeping there or he's drugged out."

Santiago said the 35-acre park used to be an escape and safe place for children to play in. It's one of the only green spaces in the South Bronx, but parents say they're always walking with caution.

"I always walk in front of them and always scanning the floor," said one parent.

Santiago showed CBS New York certain hot spots where needles are typically found and also leftover city resources like overdose rescue kits that includes Narcan.

In a recent town hall in the Bronx, Mayor Eric Adams said he's well aware of the drug issues inside the park and even witnessed them himself.  

"While we were there people were shooting up," he said to residents.

Meanwhile, an NYPD official said the drug problem has only gotten worse because of the 27 methadone clinics that surround the park within a 5-block radius. 

"So there's people that have addictions and this is where they're gravitating to because they're getting their treatment there and unfortunately they go into the park," said NYPD Deputy Inspector Joseph G. Tompkins.

Santiago said saturating harm reduction clinics in the South Bronx is part of the systemic issues residents are forced to deal with.

"It's just a symptom, the park," said Santiago. "It's just a reflection of the powers that be, how they treat us our park, our community, our neighborhood."  

You can email CBS New York's Shosh Bedrosian with Bronx story ideas by CLICKING HERE

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