The Opiod Crisis Is So Bad That Librarians Are Learning To Deal with Drug Overdoses

This article is from the US and talks about libraries in Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco but I know firsthand that librarians and library workers across Canada and right here in Regina regularly deal with people who are drunk, on drugs, or occasionally even actively using on library premises in washrooms or elsewhere.

It presents a lot of interesting questions – how far does the library’s commitment to equity of access go?  How should libraries respond to people who commit crimes such as using illegal drugs on library property?  What about less serious crimes like public intoxication or uttering threats?  What sort of training do staff receive about identifying/responding to people with addictions issues and/or de-escalating serious situations?  What sort of training should they receive?  Where is the line between allowing people who may be intoxicated or otherwise under the influence into the library versus other people’s right to use and enjoy the library?  What sort of security measures are in place to protect library patrons and staff?  Is there a role for other professionals or authority figures such as social workers, addictions councillors, or Indigenous elders in responding to these issues when they do occur?

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