A Mount Pearl man who found evidence of injection drug use in a public washroom is worried about the safety of kids who might see the same thing.

Tyler McGrath was using the bathroom of a gas station in the east end of St. John's Sunday night when he noticed the lid of a yellow sharps container on the floor. Sharps containers are used for the disposal of medical needles.

McGrath said he had a look inside the exposed box, which was mounted on the wall. Inside among used syringes, he saw a stainless steel container that he recognized as a cooker used for recreational drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

open sharps needles box

McGrath put the lid back on the sharps container, and assumes whoever took it off was desperate to get access to a syringe inside. (Submitted by Tyler McGrath)

"I immediately thought 'OK, someone got desperate because those covers are pretty hard to get off, and you need to know how to get them off because they're designed to be on safely so that kids can't get them off," he told the St. John's Morning Show.

"My first instinct was someone took that off to reuse the needle. They were hoping to get a diabetic needle and not a plunge needle."

McGrath carefully put the lid back on the container and told the clerk working about what he had found. He said the staff member was shocked and told him it wasn't something they had seen before in the washroom.

Sharps containers are specifically designed to be secure, which is why McGrath assumes someone was determined to get the box open.

Tyler McGrath

Tyler McGrath says after finding an open sharps container in a St. John's gas station bathroom, he worries about the safety of kids who may find something similar. (Submitted by Tyler McGrath)

McGrath worries with drugs like fentanyl becoming more common, and injection needles not being available off the shelf at drug stores, sights like the one he saw may become more common.

He wants parents to be cautious when sending their kids into a public bathroom alone, and would like to see a proper locking mechanism on the sharps boxes to prevent anyone from getting inside.

"Don't let your child go into a public restroom and think it's OK for them to use it, because it's not safe," he said. "Those boxes are designed so they can't come off easily for children. Someone desperately pried that off themselves."