Second-hand fentanyl fumes threaten Seattle bus drivers

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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.

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.”

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