Police have branded the disposal of used syringe needles near a children's play park in Belfast as "absolutely sickening".
The discovery close to a park in Kinallen Court in the Ormeau area comes amid reports of people taking drugs in clear sight of local residents.
Chief inspector Robert Murdie said it was "completely unforgivable" to dump such items somewhere that is used by children.
"While it cannot be determined if this had been used with illegal drugs, the fact that someone discarded it recklessly in an area used by children without concern for the health or safety of the local community is absolutely sickening," he said.
"We are all too acutely aware of the dangers of illegal drug use in our communities, but to place children at harm in this manner is completely unforgivable. Police would also like to remind those who use needles of the risks to others they could cause by discarding them so wantonly. Such items are extremely dangerous, especially to younger children who may not be aware of what they have found."
Sinn Fein Councillor Deirdre Hargey said she was concerned at an apparent rise in the use and sale of drugs in the area.
"We have been concerned for some time now about reports we have been getting from local residents about the rise in drug abuse in the area," she said.
"That residents have found a used syringe lying near a children's park will heighten their concern.
"When we met with senior members of the PSNI last week, we raised the drugs issue with them and in particular reports we have received about drug dealing taking place in full view of residents.
"I would encourage any resident who may have any information about drug dealing to report it to the police.
"Drug dealers do not care what impact they have on the local community as long as they make a profit. They do not deserve any protection from the community."
The PSNI appealed for anyone with information about the sale and distribution of illegal drugs to contact them.