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Second-hand fentanyl fumes threaten Seattle bus drivers

The Emerald City is going up in smoke, again.

Two years after Seattle officials let the city burn during BLM protests, bus drivers say they’re facing a frightful new danger: second-hand fentanyl fumes spread by addicts brazenly smoking the deadly synthetic drug on public transportation.

“The signs are, they put their head down, and start watching for the flame,” Kings County Metro bus driver Erik Christensen told KIRO 7 News. “After they inhale or ingest, they can comfortably pass out. And no one’s going to stop them.”

Seattle, like New York City, rarely arrests or prosecutes people in possession of small amounts of hard drugs, even if they’re using them in public. Smoking instead of injecting fentanyl meanwhile is gaining in popularity.

The result is bad news for public transportation, drivers say.

Several bus drivers in Seattle told the outlet that they’ve been consumed by second-hand fentanyl, experiencing dizziness, headaches and other forms of impairment Some grew so ill they were removed from their buses and taken to hospitals, the report states.

Police officers check on a man who said he has been smoking fentanyl in downtown Seattle on March 14, 2022 in Seattle, Washington.
Bus driver Erik Christensen claims fentanyl users are free to smoke anywhere while police remain absent.
John Moore/Getty Images

Second-hand fentanyl smoke is “extremely dangerous,” said Shoreline Paramedic Captain Gabe DeBay, “It’s the smoke from the pill that has not been inhaled.”

Christensen said his efforts to raise awareness for the problem has fallen on deaf ears with Metro management.

“I’m not asking for much,” he said. “I’m asking to be involved with something that’s affecting my health, my mental well-being and the health and well-being of my passengers. And I’m being told no.

A public bus picks up commuters near a boarded up building in downtown Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021.
Shoreline Paramedic Captain Gabe DeBay blasted Metro management for ignoring the fentanyl smoking issue.
Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“This is personal now. This is about the people, the passengers.”

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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