New Hampshire is experiencing a heroin epidemic, and toy syringes marketed as Halloween favors have upset some residents.
According to state reports, the number of people admitted to state-funded treatment and rehabilitation facilities increased by 90 percent in the past 10 years for heroin users and by 500 percent for those who have abused prescription opiates, according to The Daily Beast. Some lawmakers have proposed a heroin dealer registry, similar to registries for sex offenders, reports NY Daily News.
The outrage over toy syringes at Target stores in the state comes as no surprise. Described as a party favor or "gag" gift, the Spritz Halloween syringe pens are intended to be used as an alternative to sugary treats for trick-or-treaters, according to the Target website.
“As a parent and as a pharmacist, I think that with our epidemic here in New Hampshire, that they are not the most appropriate thing for children,” Danielle Rowette told NH1.
One woman demanded the removal of the merchandise from Target's inventory. Target issued this statement as a response:
“I'm sorry to hear that you've been offended by the Spritz Halloween Syringe Pens featured at Target. Target welcomes everyone to shop in our stores and has a long history of offering a large assortment of merchandise to a wide variety of guests. Though we serve a significant number of families across the country, we also serve many guests with diverse tastes and interests. Occasionally, we carry merchandise that some guests may find objectionable, as was your experience. Your feedback is a big help to us, so I'll be sure to share your comments with our buyers. Thanks for shopping with us.”
An online petition to have the syringe pens removed from Target stores has since been taken down, reports NH1 News.
NH1 News contacted Target Guest Services to find out why these pens were still being sold. The employee said that pulling these toys from the stores was not her call, but she would report this concern to her supervisors. Target told NH1 News the product has been discontinued.
Target stated it will continue to accept complaints from residents of New Hampshire about issue online or at 1-800-440-0680.