It’s another sign of just how out of control B.C.’s overdose and addiction crisis is getting.
A photo posted to Twitter Wednesday by a Vancouver police superintendent shows a bird nest fashioned out of discarded needles, reportedly in a Downtown Eastside SRO hotel.
VPD Superintendent Michelle Davey, who posted the image, writes that the nest of needles — complete with three eggs — was created by pigeons in the room, adding it’s the “sad reality of the #opioidcrisis.”
The caption goes on to add the hashtag #notstaged.
In an email, VPD Staff Sergeant Randy Fincham says the photo was captured Tuesday by the force’s homeless outreach coordinator during an inspection of a vacant SRO room.
“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,” writes Fincham.
“The image was also shared to start a conversation — a conversation about the harm reduction efforts of first responders, and the need for treatment options for substance users.”
Fincham did not say at which hotel the photo was taken.
Amid the drug crisis, discarded needles have been an ongoing concern; back in December the issue raised controversy when a child found one in the bathroom of the Creekside community centre.
Vancouver Coastal Health runs a dirty needle pickup service through the Portland Hotel Society. Anyone who finds one can call a pickup hotline at 604-657-6561.
Last month, BC Emergency Health Services set a grim record for the most overdose calls in a single day, at 130.
Nine-hundred and twenty-seven people died of overdoses in 2016. So far 2017 has claimed 347 lives, with 120 fatalities in March alone — the third highest monthly number on record.