America's twin public-health crises of homelessness and drug dependency have been put on grotesque display in a corridor of the Civic Center BART station in San Francisco - one of the busiest stations in the Bay Area.
In a shocking report by CBS San Francisco Bay Area, the station documents a group of junkies and drug addicts who congregate in a hallway in the terminal early in the morning, where they openly inject and smoke drugs. In the videos, junkies can be seen injecting drugs into veins near their knuckles or nodding out amid piles of vomit and other bodily fluids.
BART police say they're too overwhelmed to put a stop to the daily congregations, and that they might need to enlist the help of San Francisco police to stop drug users from setting up what's essentially a roving shooting gallery in the passageways of the station. Some stations, CBS reports, are often left completely unguarded.
The rider who alerted CBS described the situation in an interview, saying there's "crack and heroin" everywhere.
Some may find the video shocking. Others may find it routine.
"Every day. Every morning. 5:30 to 6 o’clock. You can see there’s dozens of them. Needles everywhere. Crack. Heroin."
"One morning I said, 'I got to pull out the camera and show my friends this. They’re not going to believe it,'" he said.
When confronted with the footage, a spokesman for BART said the organization is just trying to do the best it can with the resources it has.
"It’s a real concern for our riders, and we appreciate that," said BART spokesman Chris Filippi. "But what we have to do is make the most of the resources, the limited resources that we have."
San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell told CBS that the situation in the BART stations is "unacceptable."
"The situation in our BART stations is simply unacceptable," said San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell. "Borders on disastrous."
Of course, what neither official acknowledged, is that San Francisco and other cities and towns in the Bay Area (see: Oakland) provide ample resources to undocumented immigrants, while the members of the area's burgeoning homeless population often die unaided and uncounted as officials chose a decidedly less-effective method of remedying the homelessness crisis: Deliberately doctoring statistics.