Public libraries are becoming havens for drug offenders — especially heroin addicts, according to a new report.
The AP says the “unfettered public access, quiet corners and nooks, and minimal interaction with other people” that make libraries ideal for studying and reading [and I would add viewing porn, since libraries have become safe spaces for porn addicts in recent years] also make libraries a popular place to shoot up heroin.
It’s happening all over the country and people — especially parents — should take notice:
In Norfolk, Virginia, a 47-year-old man died after a patron found him in a library restroom. In Batesville, Indiana, and New Brunswick, New Jersey, police revived others in library restrooms using a popular overdose antidote.
The body of a homeless man who frequented the Oak Park Public Library in suburban Chicago might have been there for days, fully clothed and slumped on the toilet in a restroom on the quiet third floor, before a maintenance worker unlocked it on a Monday morning in April and discovered his inglorious demise. The empty syringe and lighter in his pockets and the cut soda can in the trash pointed to the cause, an accidental heroin overdose.
“On both a personal and a professional level, we were all very shocked and of course worried about how this could happen in our spaces,” said executive director David Seleb, who fired the security company responsible for clearing the library before closing.
In Ohio, peace officers from Toledo’s library system are being trained to help the sheriff’s Drug Abuse Response Team. Boston’s libraries have needle drop boxes and have offered overdose prevention training for employees and residents.
At the Humboldt County Library in Eureka, California, a librarian turned life-saver when she realized a man apparently sleeping in a chair was actually unresponsive, his lips turning blue. Health officials had provided the overdose antidote naloxone — often known by the brand name Narcan — for the library, so librarian Kitty Yancheff injected it into the man’s leg, then into a still-limp arm before he gurgled and fluttered his eyes.
“I felt grateful that we had this Narcan on hand and that we were able to save his life, but it was kind of surreal,” said Yancheff, the library’s public services division manager.
The American Library Association encourages librarians to be trained to deal with drug users and the homeless. Public libraries are also partnering with local police and social workers because, as ALA President Julie Todaro said, “Clearly when you have the epidemic that we have and the issues with the patrons that we have, we need to organize assistance. That doesn’t mean we ourselves provide it.”