Opioid Problem Causes Problems For Shelter Sites

Sep 8, 2019

Hard drugs are driving up the numbers of homeless, says a non-profit group that helps the poor and unhoused. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, a shelter that isn’t normally at capacity until winter is already packed.

St. Vincent de Paul's Dusk to Dawn Tent Camp, off of Highway 99 in Eugene.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

St. Vincent de Paul runs several programs and services across the Eugene-Springfield area.  One of them is its Dusk-to-Dawn tent camp on Highway 99.

Terry McDonald is the organization’s Executive Director.  He says of its 200 spaces, 190 are already taken…months ahead of schedule. McDonald says a big factor is opioids.

Heroin and needle.
Credit Dimitris Kalogeropoylos / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

“Some really bad heroin that’s laced with fentanyl," McDonald tells KLCC.  "The cost of heroin has dropped down to where it’s almost cheaper than marijuana.  And when they get to the point where they’re cheaper than the recreational type of drug, the marijuanas of the world, it’s not a good thing for the community, it’s an unhealthy trend.”

McDonald says St. Vincent’s is working to get people into affordable housing as soon as possible, to avoid crowding.

Opioid addiction is recognized as a national epidemic.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.