A park in Tucson, Arizona, where children play has sparked outrage after drug paraphernalia, ranging from needles to lighters, have been increasingly showing up there.
Even more worrying is that Pueblo Gardens Park is right next to a Boys and Girls Club, KVOA reports.
“I'm not letting [my grandchildren] run around on their own like a lot of the kids who come here,” Gloria Munoz told KVOA. “Parents don't even know what their kids can get into.”
“Why should one little kid, say he runs into some drugs or a syringe with heroin in it,” Munoz added, “and shoots up and dies. And then we're going to have community involvement.”
While locals say the police have tried to help, they don’t believe enough is being done to combat the drug use prevalent at the park.
“It takes a whole community,” said Cindy Ayala, the president of the Pueblo Gardens Neighborhood Association. “We all have to stand together. It's time we take back our streets. It's time we say no to drugs again.”
This is not the first time in the past few days Arizona has captured national attention for drugs.
On March 2, police arrested six men involved in a drug trafficking operation in the Phoenix area of southern Arizona, KPNX reports.
The men were charged with multiple drug charges and reportedly recruited the others at various skate parks.
Instead of just saying no to drugs, as Ayala recommends, some suggest the community should focus on tackling poverty.
“It’s hard to keep a job, it’s hard to make money,” 21-year-old Vincent Tazellaer, who struggles to pay rent, told KPNX. He is not associated with the bust but is the type of person the cartels seek to recruit.
Tazellaer says he and his friends frequently hang out near the skate park where the drug dealers operated.
“I could certainly see some of them doing it,” Tazellaer explained while talking about his friends and the temptation to deal drugs.
Erica Curry of the DEA confirms this is how the drug dealers they recently caught had lured young adults into working for them.
“They were offered fast cash, quick easy money,” Curry said, adding that these recruitment patterns are similar in other areas of Arizona.