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American News May 9, 2022 10:04 AM EST

Second-hand smoke from fentanyl addicts strikes fear in Seattle bus drivers

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

Second-hand smoke from fentanyl addicts strikes fear in Seattle bus drivers
Katie Daviscourt Seattle, WA

Seattle bus drivers are living in fear from second-hand fentanyl fumes as addicts openly smoke the deadly synthetic drug on King County Metro.

Erik Christensen, a 22-year King County Metro bus driver, is sounding the alarm over what he calls an urgent public health crisis that is putting the safety of drivers and riders in jeopardy.

"This is personal now. This is about the people, the passengers," Christensen told KIRO 7 News.

Christensen said that the city is ignoring his requests for help. He and other bus drivers have spent months reaching out to Metro management and county executive Dow Constantine about the dangerous conditions of brazen deadly opioid use but have been ignored.

"I'm one voice," Christensen said. "One voice that's getting ignored."

Over the past year, Christensen and countless other bus drivers began to report on the terrifying conditions. They said that addicts choose their coaches because of the warm still air inside.

The most common opioid of choice for addicts to burn are blue pills known as "blues" M-30s or "30s." These pills are commonly laced with fentanyl and the addicts burn them on aluminum foil with a lighter beneath it. They inhale the rising smoke and fumes with a straw, Kiro 7 News reports.

"The signs are, they put their head down, and start watching for the flame," Christensen said. "After they inhale or ingest, they can comfortably pass out. And no one's going to stop them."

Seattle police no longer intervene with rampant drug use in the city following the passing of Washington's State v. Blake Supreme Court decision, small amounts of illicit drugs are not enforceable or prosecuted.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S. Fentanyl is also the leading killer for Americans ages 18-to 45 and the CDC predicts that 100,000 will die from using it alone.

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