A demonstration of the "sheer scale and concentration of Vancouver’s drug problem" was exemplified by a photograph posted to the Twitter account of Vancouver Police Superintendent Michelle Davey, supposedly showing a pigeon's nest constructed entirely out of used hypodermic needles:
Pigeons spotted making a nest out of #needles in a #DTES SRO room. Sad reality of the #opioidcrisis #fentanyl #frontline #notstaged pic.twitter.com/M0DDVLkL28
— Supt. Michelle Davey (@VPDSuperDavey) May 3, 2017
According to Canada's National Post, Vancouver has seen a sharp increase in opioid-related overdoses and deaths of late:
As Vancouver’s drug users continue to be sold batches of drugs tainted with the powerful opioids fentanyl or carfentanil, the city has seen a rising spike in overdoses and drug-related deaths.
More than 100 people have been killed in Vancouver by overdoses over the course of 2017, with many more having life-threatening overdoses reversed with the opioid-blocking medication naloxone.
Over a single night in April , for instance, paramedics in the Downtown Eastside had to respond to 12 overdoses.
In January 2017, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson tweeted that overdose deaths in the city had reached “horrific levels” and called on government officials to declare it a public health emergency:
#Vancouver OD deaths @ horrific levels. Need all levels of gov't to treat the fentanyl opioid crisis like a public health emergency #vanpoli
— Gregor Robertson (@MayorGregor) January 24, 2017
The authenticity of the "pigeon's nest" photograph is still uncertain, and we are one of many news outlets who have sent requests to Superintendent Davey seeking more information about it. The Tribune Media Wire quoted Staff Sergeant Randy Fincham as saying that the image "was captured by our Homeless Outreach Coordinator during an inspection of a vacant room in a Downtown Eastside single room occupancy building,” but we don't yet know if or how it was determined that a pigeon had in fact constructed and used the pile of needles as a nest.