In drug-plagued downtown Vancouver, a bird nest made out of used needles

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 May, 2017, 6:59am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 May, 2017, 11:28pm

A senior Vancouver police officer has released a startling picture that she says depicts the “sad reality” of the opioid crisis in the city – a bird nest constructed of used hypodermic needles.

The photo, tweeted by Superintendent Michelle Davey on Wednesday afternoon, shows dozens of needles heaped in a disused washroom sink, in what Davey said was a single-room occupancy hotel in the drug-plagued Downtown Eastside, which neighbours the city’s Chinatown.

Three tiny eggs sit in the middle of the nest.

“Pigeons spotted making a nest out of needles in a DTES SRO room. Sad reality of the opioid crisis,” Davey wrote, with the hashtags #fentanyl and #notstaged.

Someone has been illegally growing cannabis at Vancouver City Hall community garden

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is in the grip of a deadly opioid epidemic, which claimed 927 lives in the province of British Columbia last year, and more than 300 so far this year. According to the BC Coroner’s Service, the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl was present in about 60 per cent of fatal overdose cases in the first two months of 2017.

The Vancouver Police Department said the photo of the needle nest was taken on Tuesday during an inspection of a vacant room, adding that it “highlights [the] need for more talk about substance user treatment options”.