CORYDON, Ind. (WDRB) -- On a peaceful day at a state park, with birds chirping and a slight breeze, one wouldn't expect to find a used needle among flowers near Pine Pond -- but that's exactly what conservation officers have been finding in and around Indiana state parks. 

“It's alarming for a couple of reasons. One, it was uncapped and it was in a high use area,” said Indiana Conservation Officer Jim Schreck at O'Bannon Woods State Park in Corydon, Indiana.

The number of HIV cases grows daily in Scott County from the sharing of dirty needles, and officials have been watching closely since the epidemic was declared a public health emergency.

“We have stepped up our patrols. I will say we patrol all of our state parks heavily, this one in particular, we do patrol it heavily. In response to this, we patrol it even more,” said Schreck.

The concern is that, with summer right around the corner, more hours of daylight means more people at the park.

“On any given weekend in the summer time especially, there are kids sometimes running barefoot around,” said Schreck.

“I'm just shocked,” said fisherman Ivan Zollman, who frequents the state parks. “A little kid or something could come out and accidentally prick them self on that thing."

“An accidental needle puncture, or something of that nature, we want to prevent that if at all possible,” said Schreck.

Conservation officials say it's rare to find needles out in the open. Most of the time they're found on deserted trails.

“People think they're away from the public and less likely to get caught,” said Schreck.

But that's not the case. He says as long as the sun is in sky, they'll be cracking down.

“If their recreation is drug use and if they come to our parks, they will go to jail,” said Schreck.

If you find a needle at a state park in Southern Indiana, don't pick it up. You can call The Department of Natural Resources dispatch number at (812)-837-9536 or the local County Sheriff's Office:

  • Perry County (812)-547-2441
  • Crawford County (812)-338-2802
  • Orange County (812)-723-2417
  • Lawrence County (812)-275-3316
  • Harrison County (812)-738-2195
  • Washington County (812)-883-3580
  • Jackson County (812)-358-2141
  • Floyd County (812)-948-5400
  • Clark County (812)-283-4471
  • Scott County (812)-752-8400

You can read more about the outbreak of HIV in southern Indiana here

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