RENSSELAER, N.Y. (MEDIA GENERAL) – Target is selling pens that look like syringes and needles, and it’s raising some eyebrows.
Pens designed to look like syringes are being sold in Target stores. They can be found among the Halloween candy, costumes and other holiday novelties.
In order to be able to write with the pen, a user has to push down on the top of it as if it were a syringe or needle.
Sgt. Matthew Dearing with the Schenectady Police Department said the toys are dangerous.
“To someone who is not real familiar with it, yeah, it would look just like, you know, a syringe or needle or anything like that,” he said.
Marsha Penrose is the executive director of The Next Step, a treatment center in Albany.
“I would like to take all of these and smash them,” she said after seeing the pen. “Because it triggers people.”
Penrose knows all too well what addiction looks like.
“We’re reading about the heroin epidemic constantly in the paper, on the news,” she said. “I don’t understand the people who make it, and I don’t understand the people who sell it.”
Law enforcement agrees.
“To see it on the ground or anything like that , most people without taking a real hard look at it, you can’t tell that it’s not a syringe,” Sgt. Dearing said. “It looks just like it.”
In addition, the pen is marketed toward children as young as 4-years old.
“The shocking part is that it says ages 4 and above on the package,” Dearing said.
“This is not something that should be shown to kids as they grow up,” Penrose said. “I mean, I’m horrified that this for age four.”
But Dearing believes the pens can be used as a teaching tool for parents.
“To know kids could be carrying it around, it’s different but opens up dialogue for parents and things like that as long as they’re prepared for it,” he said. “Because with marketing for 4-year olds on the package, they’re going to have some questions.”
A spokesperson from Target said they have received customer complaints about the pens, but they do not have any plans to take them off store shelves.
Target sent the following statement to Media General:
“We value feedback from our guests and share that feedback with the appropriate internal partners. We have not made any changes to our assortment.”