Vancouver authorities stumbled upon a sobering indicator of the city’s opioid problem this week.
Vancouver Police Department Superintendent Michelle Davey tweeted a photo showing a pigeon nest made of opioid needles.
“Pigeons spotted making a nest out of #needles in a #DTES SRO room,” she said. “Sad reality of the #opioidcrisis #fentanyl #frontline #notstaged.”
Staff Sgt. Randy Fincham said the photo was taken in the British Columbia city’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood by a homeless outreach coordinator. The officer, according to the Vancouver Courrier, saw pigeons fly out of the room before snapping the shot of a rundown dirty sink filled needles and three white eggs.
Vancouver has become a hot spot for drugs such as heroin coming in from the Pacific Ocean, reports PRI. Many of the drugs, PRI wrote, stay in the Downtown Eastside neighborhood.
The VPD said the photo was shared, “to show the reality of drug use in the Downtown Eastside,” and to start, “a conversation about the harm reduction efforts of first responders, and the need for treatment options for substance users.”
In the U.S., heroin use has increased in both men and women and across income levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bolstered by huge increases in cases involving heroin, Americans are dying from drug overdoses at more than double the rate they did in 1999.
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