Vancouverites issue ‘plea for help’ over drug use near Crosstown Elementary School

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A “plea for help” is how some Vancouver residents described Tuesday night’s public forum at Crosstown Elementary School. There, they gathered to address what they call a growing drug problem in the community.

A woman named Gabriel said her kids attend Crosstown Elementary School.

“There’s people shooting up drugs while our kids are at school and we have no way of protecting per se of who’s going to come wandering over or are children going to wander over there?” she asked.

“Fentanyl, as an example, can be deadly for kids, like it’s an extreme concern… a kid finds something on the floor and they’re just going to touch it like, hey, that looks interesting and next thing you know they could be gone,” said an attendant named Manny.

But parents aren’t the only ones who are concerned.

“You’ll see like needles in open packages, and so at night it’s really hard, so I just try to walk in areas that are well lit,” said an attendant named Julie.

“For all of us that live in this area, this is like… drug paraphernalia is in our gardens, it’s in our doorways and they’re breaking into the underground all of the time,” said Sherry.

Sherry said she lives near Science World.

“We’ve downsized to a condo, and what we’re finding is now you’ve got a lot of damage to the buildings,” she said.

Carlo said he sees lots of people shooting up around the parks in the area.

“I do have dogs that I walk in the park and even then you have to be really careful,” he said.

The Crosstown Residents Association said it was joined by public-serving groups that included city officials, the school board, Vancouver Coastal Health and police, and all have agreed to work together.

It said the next steps will be posted on their Facebook group after going through all of the suggestions.

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