Bird nest in used needles a 'sad reality' of Vancouver opioid crisis
Published Wednesday, May 3, 2017 5:04PM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, May 3, 2017 6:20PM PDT
A Vancouver police superintendent has shared a graphic image of a bird nest made out of used drug needles in a bid to highlight the “sad reality” of the opioid crisis that has claimed hundreds of lives.
The photo was posted to Twitter by Supt. Michelle Davey. It was taken Tuesday by a VPD Homeless Outreach Coordinator during an inspection of a vacant room at an unnamed Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) hotel in the city’s Downtown Eastside, what’s largely considered to be ground zero in the city’s battle against fentanyl overdoses.
The three white pigeon eggs are a stark contrast to the dozens of used needles inside the filthy sink.
Sgt. Randy Fincham told CTV Vancouver the image was shared to “start a conversation” about the harm reduction efforts of first responders and the need for treatment options for those battling addiction.
“The picture was shared with the public to show the reality of drug use in the Downtown Eastside and to provide a rare glimpse into the lives of first responders, health care providers, and others involved in the opioid crisis,” Fincham said in a statement.
Emergency responders in B.C. are dealing with a record amount of fentanyl-related calls, with 130 suspected overdoses on April 27 alone. BC Emergency Health Services said the figure represented an all-time high record for calls for paramedics.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says the province is on track to hit over 1,300 overdose deaths in 2017, with 400 in Vancouver alone.
There were 120 overdose deaths in March, which equals 3.9 deaths every single day, according to numbers from the BC Coroners Service. The figures represent a more than 50 per cent increase from March 2016.