Two Denver-area Public Libraries Closed Due to Meth Contamination

Image: City of Boulder

Who knew that public libraries were a popular hangout for meth heads?

Two libraries in the Denver area have been temporarily closed due to methamphetamine contamination in the restrooms. A small amount of contamination was also found on some tabletops


Obviously,  the druggies aren’t there to read books — or if they are, they’re not learning anything.  The meth heads may be using library restrooms because they don’t have any police patrolling the facility, although there’s a plan to add security guards in the near future.

The contamination is a serious matter. Meth in these small amounts is not deadly, but health officials say meth residue can be an irritant, causing symptoms like an itchy throat, a runny nose, and bloodshot eyes. And cleaning up the contamination is not an easy matter. The larger-scale decontamination work needed for the bathrooms will include removing tainted surfaces, walls, ductwork, and exhaust fan equipment.


The city of about 33,000 just south of Denver decided to test for the drug after officials in the nearby college town of Boulder closed its main library after finding meth contamination, Harguth said.

It is the latest example of the balancing act urban libraries have to navigate between making their facilities be welcoming to all while keeping them clean and safe. When a rash of overdoses in libraries were reported in the mid 2010s as the opioid crisis grew across the United States, some libraries were equipped with the antidote Naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan.


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The libraries have attracted more homeless people since the pandemic ended. “We’re very accommodating,” library director Christina Underhill said. But “there are some individuals who abuse this space and unfortunately put us in this position.”

The “position” is to basically do nothing while spouting inanities about how “welcoming” the libraries are. Perhaps a little less welcome and a little more enforcement of the rules might improve the situation so you wouldn’t have to spend scarce and valuable library funds to clean up the mess made by meth heads.



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