A small bag of white powder was handed to police on Monday 14 March by a member of the public after a young girl found it in the Glebetown Drive area of Downpatrick.
The contents of the bag will be disposed of by police.
SDLP South Down Assembly Candidate Councillor Colin McGrath has condemned the possible drugs find as “a disgrace” and said: “To leave drugs near a play area was totally irresponsible and dangerous.
“The bag of white powder was discovered in a grassy area near to a local Primary School and was found by a six year old girl.
“The suspected drugs could have posed a serious danger to any child if consumed. The possible ramifications of this incident do not bear thinking about.
“Such an incident only highlights the dangers we have within our community and the need to remove the scourge of drugs from our area.
“The PSNI was informed of the find and removed the bag for forensic testing, but it is fairly obvious that it was a bag containing drugs.
“I would urge vigilance in the area and suggest anyone with information of drug dealing or consumption in the area to contact the PSNI immediately.”
Chief Inspector Barney O’Connor added: “While we cannot categorically state at this time that the bag contains drugs, it is the uppermost concern for all of us. Tackling the use and supply of illegal drugs is a priority for us and the possibility that something so potentially dangerous has been discarded in an area that children frequent is deeply concerning.
“In the 12 months up to January 2016, we have made 454 seizures of drugs in Newry, Mourne and Down District and made 188 arrests. This demonstrates our clear and ongoing commitment to tackling drugs,
“We work continually with partners in education, youth provision and health services to educate people about the dangers of drugs and to deter them from becoming involved in drugs. We can only be successful in our efforts when we work together. I would ask everyone in the local community to help us and if you have information about the sale or misuse of illegal drugs, please contact us on 101. It is only with your assistance and information that we can identify offenders and bring them to justice.
“I don’t want members of the local community to find drugs on their street, however, this incident just reminds us that criminals have no regard whatsoever for the safety of local residents, and I am thankful that this child had the sense to speak to an adult about what she discovered.”