The Denver Library's Central branch was the site of at least six overdoses during the first three months of last year.
The Denver Library's Central branch was the site of at least six overdoses during the first three months of last year.
File photo

Reader: Why Is Denver Kowtowing to the Needs of Drug Users and Addicts?

Last week, state lawmakers withdrew a bill in the General Assembly that would have created a pilot project for a supervised injection site in Denver for intravenous drug users. The project would have mirrored a safe-injection site in Vancouver, one of the few in North America.

The move disappointed local advocates of safe-injection sites, who view them as a way to manage the opioid crisis. "We already have a safe-use site in Denver," Colorado House District 8 Representative Leslie Herod told us late last month. "It's operated illegally, and it's operating because of need. That's our Denver Public Library" — specifically the Central branch at 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, where six people overdosed during the first three months of 2017 alone — "and it's a huge problem. We need to move that population away from the library, and away from the bathrooms in coffee shops and restaurants, and move them to a place where they can get connected with services."

Readers weighed in on safe-injection sites and the role the Central Library plays in the opioid crisis in Denver.

Alyssa says:

I’m all for safe spaces for addicts to seek help, but you’ve got to be out of your mind to think that a public library, where we take our children for story time and other programs scheduled for babies and kids, would be in the least bit appropriate. There are programs, locations, and a mass amount of other places that addicts can go to seek safe injection help, please leave our libraries and children’s spaces free of that!

Tom argues:

Pretty fucked up that they put this burden on librarians. They definitely did not have this in mind when they decided on that career path.

Clint explains:

"Saving lives" does not always get highest priority if you are on the streets and already dying from liver failure and toxic plasmosis. How about building a facility to provide housing and supervised care for the elderly, disabled, mentally ill, and addicts instead of just Narcanning them twice a week?

Seth notes:

I love libraries and really love the central one so so much, but the stench of homeless and the broken doors in the bathrooms and the general feeling of the entire place makes me avoid it. If the library is funded by our taxes, can it please be a good place for us to go and learn instead of a beautiful 7 story drug den for homeless people to watch movies on their tablets all day.

Amy asks:

Um what? If I take my kid to the library she might see someone use drugs or encounter the paraphernalia in the bathroom...? WHAT?!

Brandon says:

Why is Denver kowtowing to the needs of drug users and addicts? Is the city government in the business of protecting and promoting self-destructive behavior? Even the concept of “safe-use” is a paradox in itself. There is no safe use of heroin, only flirtation with death and disease. Isn’t the creation of socially acceptable spaces to partake in such wickedness essentially a stamp of approval? Is that what Denver wants; to send a message to heroin addicts that they are welcome here?

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