July 14, 2024

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Council hears of local fentanyl death, threat to community from drug cartels

4 min read
Another death from fentanyl, as the Eugene City Council hears of dangerous drugs being offered for sale on the street during its public comment session Sept. 12.

Another death from fentanyl, as the Eugene City Council hears of dangerous drugs being offered for sale on the street. During public comment on September 12th, Eric Jackson.

[00:00:10] Eric Jackson: Hi Eric Jackson, Ward 1, but it might be Ward 7, I’m not sure. All the speakers tonight were very articulate in what they had to say and I appreciate the residents caring about the town as much as they do. I’m also one and…the fentanyl challenge that the city is having right now is absolutely beyond comprehension.

[00:00:30] I was out of town in California for a few weeks and came back to being asked between the Whiteaker and the Red Barn Natural Foods place, to 11th and Adams, three different times out of vehicle windows—SUV windows—if I wanted to buy blues or heroin.

[00:00:50] That’s never happened to me in five years of being on the streets in this town. Never. Not once, not ever. I was carrying a skateboard after midnight, just walking down the street. I wasn’t doing anything, but I was that approachable. I would think you guys could stop some of these people that are coming from out of town, in vehicles, to distribute this in our town.

[00:01:09] I have a very close friend that just died of a fentanyl overdose, but he thought he was buying methamphetamines. Either one: Is it right, no. But if you think you’re buying one thing and you inhale another, you could be dead five minutes later.

[00:01:22] There’s been reports of people having laced joints, marijuana, coming from the streets. And in Oregon, everybody gives away pot since the day that I got here and it hasn’t stopped yet, including me when I came back from California. But I knew where mine was grown and I knew how mine was handled. Not everybody does. And that’s a big problem.

[00:01:41] I want to say that you guys are doing a standup job. There’s 500+ more beds for temporary housing for homeless than there were two, three years ago, not 10 years ago. The permanent supported housing is absolutely phenomenal. And keep it up. Don’t stop. It’s working. It changes people’s lives. I’m watching it every day. You guys can give you yourselves a round of applause and COVID a round of applause, because I don’t know if you would’ve had any of the money to do any of it without it. So thank you. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your work.

[00:02:10] Councilor Randy Groves: I also want to comment on people speaking about some of the problems we’ve been seeing in our city. We’ve certainly been working on it. I think we have made some improvements, but there’s still a long way to go. We didn’t get into the position we’re in overnight and we’re not going to climb out of it overnight either.

[00:02:26] But I believe in the last 18 months we have made some progress. But this isn’t the time to take our foot off the pedal. We need to keep going. We need to make sure that we are taking care of everybody in our community and addressing the behavioral problems, but also—as Mr. Jackson pointed out—it’s made a difference, having places for people to go.

[00:02:45] And I think we’ve seen the benefits of that. I also just want to echo the concern that Mr. Jackson raised about the fentanyl. That has concerned me for a long time. Having been someone who was on the street responding to calls like that not that many years ago, what drugs do to our community is a terrible thing.

[00:03:03] And especially, you know, those who are using when they have no idea what they’re even getting. And fentanyl is basically in everything anymore. And that’s by design. Some of the cartels have created a captive market base, running a business, and they are poisoning people in our community and beyond.

[00:03:22] And so this is something that we do need to take seriously. I do want to commend the Eugene Police Street Crimes Unit. They have been bringing in some very large arrests from people out of town that are using the I-5 pipeline to distribute dangerous drugs to our community. And they’ve just made arrest after arrest after arrest.

[00:03:43] And these are not small busts. These are big multi-agency events that are taking place. And I want to thank them for that work. And for those who doubt the CSI tax, which was brought online before I was even on council, but the money is doing what we hoped it would do. And that’s not to say we’re solving every problem, but we’re definitely chipping away at things and it’s better than it was, but we still have a long, long way to go.

John Q: City Council hears of overdose deaths in Eugene from dangerous street drugs.

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