VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Police Department shared a sobering photo on Twitter Wednesday of three pigeon eggs sitting in a "nest" made of discarded hypodermic needles.
"The image was captured yesterday by our Homeless Outreach Coordinator during an inspection of a vacant room in a Downtown Eastside single room occupancy building," according to Staff Sergeant Randy Fincham.
"Pigeons spotted making a nest out of #needles in a #DTES SRO room," Tweeted Superintendent Michelle Davey. "Sad reality of the #opioidcrisis #fentanyl #frontline #notstaged."
Fincham said that the department wanted to show the reality of drug use in the neighborhood and start a conversation about the safety of first responders and the need for new treatment options.
Vancouver, like so many other North American cities, is battling an opioid crisis that has spiraled out of control, especially in the Downtown Eastside neighborhood. In one day in December, 2016, nine people died of overdoses, according to the Vancouver Sun. Eight of those people died in Downtown Eastside.
In late January, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson tweeted that the overdose deaths had reached "horrific levels" and called on government officials to consider it a public health emergency.