Tue, 05 Dec 2023

Denver-area library closed for second time to clean up meth

Robert Besser
20 Jan 2023, 10:30 GMT+10

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado: A library in the Denver suburb of Englewood has closed as it cleans up methamphetamine contamination for the second time in a month.

City spokesman Chris Harguth said local officials shut down the library last week, within hours of receiving test results which showed that the contamination in the facility's restrooms exceeded state limits.

The city of about 33,000 just south of Denver decided to test for the drug after officials in the nearby college town of Boulder closed its main library after finding meth contamination, he added.

In the mid-2010s amidst the growing opioid crisis in the US, a rash of overdoses in libraries were reported around the country, with some libraries being equipped with Narcan, the brand name of the antidote, Naloxone.

According to health officials, meth residue can be an irritant, causing symptoms such as an itchy throat, a runny nose and bloodshot eyes. But secondary exposure has not been proven to cause long-term chronic health concerns, Harguth said.

While not being common, drug use has increased at the Englewood library in recent months, as colder weather led more people to seek shelter there, said library director Christina Underhill.

City officials said that the library's closure last month was due to strict state rules for cleaning up meth, once discovered by testing.

Spokesperson Annie Elliott said the Boulder library has since reopened, but its bathrooms remain closed as crews decontaminate it, including by replacing fans and vents.

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