under fire for selling pens that look like hypodermic needles as Halloween novelty toys, stirring concerns among parents and drug abuse prevention advocates as the country battles a rising heroin and opioid addiction crisis.
The pens - with clear plastic tubes filled with brightly colored liquid, topped by a plunger and marked with the measuring lines found on syringes - are sold at Target stores nationwide under the Spritz brand.
"I think it's an incredibly bad idea," said Celeste Clark, director of the Raymond Coalition for Youth, an organization in New Hampshire that works to reduce substance abuse. "Given today's epidemic that our state is in, it just seems like a no-brainer that something like that shouldn't be on the shelves."
A spokesperson for Minneapolis-based Target said the company had heard complaints from consumers but will leave them on the shelves. "We have not made any changes to our store Halloween assortment related to this product," Molly Snyder said. "At Target, our intent is never to offend any of our guests, and we appreciate their feedback. We have shared this feedback with the merchants for them to consider as they plan for future merchandise assortment."