A mother has an anxious after a ‘dirty needle’ prick at Frankston Beach near Melbourne.
As always, the beach-side area attracts IV drug users who seek some degree of isolation and privacy, at least from the Police, while buying and selling, and consuming their drugs. This creates particular problems for those responsible for beach security and cleanliness, and for those tasked with the mechanics of beach cleaning since discarded needles settle rapidly into soft sand making their location and retrieval particularly difficult.
“I went to the doctor’s straight away to get a blood test done and I won’t get the results until October some time.”
Despite being nervous about the results, the mother said she was staying positive.
“I am quietly optimistic. I am angrier if anything, (I believe) the council is only raking the beach once a fortnight.”
“Council undertakes constant beach cleaning during peak summer times, and cleaning is also more frequent in cooler months following storms when needles are more likely to be washed ashore.
The quotes appearing in the original news report are quite interesting. If she had blood tests and now faces an anxious wait for the result, why not any precautionary treatment, for Hepatitis B or even for HIV (there is no preventative treatment for Hepatitis C)?
It is interesting also to know that “the council is only raking the beach once a fortnight.” That may be a resource-driven decision, and/or one that has been risk assessed. But with this sharps injury, has the risk assessment been reviewed and is their any evidence to justify its revision, thus with more frequent patrols and cleaning?
And lastly, I might question the focus on needles being washed ashore, when the strong likelihood is of a problem and source far closer to home, with a solution that must be managed locally.