Portland, Oregon residents were left in shock after bags of fentanyl were found in a popular public park as the city battles an ongoing drug epidemic.
More than 80 grams of the synthetic opioid in powder and pill form were recently discovered by a local mother in the grass in Tanner Springs Park Monday. Tom Karwaki, who serves as chair of the University Park Neighborhood Association, said that amount of fentanyl is "far beyond" personal use.
"I think everyone is outraged," Karwaki told "Fox & Friends" Friday. "No playground is safe in the United States."
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Personal drug use was decriminalized in Portland in 2020, but Mayor Ted Wheeler has proposed a ban on the use of controlled substances in public spaces. Violators of the ordinance could face a fine up to $500 or six months in jail.
Karwaki acknowledged recent efforts to clean up parks and public spaces but said there is more change needed.
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"Everyone has to take vigilance and clean them up, throw them out when you see them or call the cops," he said. "Drugs like this can't be found in the public."
Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) Synthetic opioids were responsible for two-thirds of overdose deaths in 2021.
Karwaki said there have been six drug overdoses in his neighborhood alone.
"We have to demand a lot more from our public officials," Karwaki said. "We need to have our playgrounds staffed, cleaned and patrolled - and that's something that everyone should be asking for citywide, nationwide."