Father speaking out after children witness overdose at local park

BOSTON — A local father tired of seeing his kids play in the shadow of drug abuse is speaking out.

Boston 25 News first met Domingos DaRosa in March at a meeting with Boston city leaders. DaRosa was outraged over needles found near his children's school.

This time, the father took cellphone video to show how bad he says the opioid epidemic is.

DaRosa was coaching his son's football practice this weekend at Clifford Park when dozens of kids had to witness an overdose.

"The parents like kind of pulled them back, kept them from warming up and they kept them from a distance," said DaRosa.

EMTs responded to revive the overdose victim in the middle of the field while the children stood on the other side watching.

This comes after DaRosa found dozens of needles near the playgrounds of two schools earlier this year.

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"And it's spilling into schoolyards, playgrounds, and it's moving more and more into the city and there are folks who are tracking numbers and it's showing that it's spreading across Boston now," he said.

Sue Sullivan is the executive director of the Newmarket Business Association. She's working to clean up the area and says the city is already conducting five sweeps a day of parks like Clifford Park.

"We've been trying to mitigate over the last few years how we stop the proliferation of needles and all in particular Clifford Park," said Sullivan.

Plus, they've added kiosks in the hopes more people will discard the dirty needles properly.

"Come summer, there will be a lot of students, children playing baseball out here and the last thing you want is a child getting stuck with a needle," said Sullivan.

But DaRosa doesn't think kiosks and sweeps are enough to fix the major problem that's now affecting his children.

"It's either the city does something different or they're really gonna have to get a rude awakening because myself and the community is just tired of it," said DaRosa.

Cleaning up needles and keeping overdose victims away from the parks is one thing, but DaRosa and Sullivan both agree it won't get to the root of the problem.

"We need it desperately, we need more treatment beds," said Sullivan. "Right now, every time someone goes into detox, for every ten people that go into detox, seven days later, seven of them are back out on the street because there aren't beds."

The city has been pushing to build a new bridge to Long Island where it hopes to open a rehab center for opioid users, but as of now, those plans have not been approved as the city battles with Quincy over where to build the bridge.

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