Amid the ongoing “opioid crisis” in Vancouver, the city’s Superintendent has shared an image supposedly showing a pigeon's nest made out of needles used to inject fentanyl.
Vancouver Police Department’s Superintendent Michelle Davey tweeted the image saying: “Pigeons spotted making a nest out of needles in a DTES SRO [The Downtown Eastside single room occupancy] room. Sad reality of the #opioidcrisis #fentanyl #frontline #notstaged”
The Official Vancouver Police account added: “#VPD photo from vacant #DTES room inspection highlights need for more talk about substance user treatment options.”
Vancouver is currently experiencing high rates of opioid abuse, particularly of the potent prescription painkiller fentanyl. In the first three months of 2017, there were around 100 overdose deaths in Vancouver, compared to 215 in the whole of 2016, according to the Vancouver Sun. Police even had to respond to 12 non-fatal overdoses in just one night. There's a similarly grim situation south of the border in the US, where misuse of prescription drugs has doubled in the past decade.
The authenticity of this photograph is unclear. Although it’s not unheard of for birds to use synthetic human-made trash in their nests, this is extreme. However, Vancouver Police have continued to reaffirm it's the real deal.
Viral tweet fodder or not, many people are sharing the image as a powerful symbol of the city’s woes.