CONCORD (CBS) – A fed up BART worker wants everyone to see the drug use at the Concord station where she works.
By now, you’ve probably seen the viral video of heroin addicts openly shooting up in San Francisco’s Civic Center BART Station. But if that just seems like the gritty reality of the big city, guess again.
Last week, Concord station agent Barbara De Lap was told there were people using drugs in the garage elevator.
“And when I went out there I had a feeling who it was because it’s one of our ‘regulars,’ so I did have my camera ready.”
When the door opened she snapped this photo of two men, one with a needle still in his arm.
“If you just look at that picture of him and his face and his eyes,” De Lap says. “It was just like, oh man… like shame, maybe? A little bit of shame and I even said to him, oh, man, you know you can’t shoot up in my elevator – you guys gotta go!”
De Lap posted the photo on Facebook, noting that, at 4:30 a.m. in the morning, when the photo was taken, there is only one police officer covering the six stations from Baypoint to Lafayette.
But the BART Police Department says this goes far beyond just an enforcement problem.
“This isn’t a BART problem alone,” said Lt. Michael Hayes. “It is an epidemic, the opioid epidemic, that is, we’re experiencing nationwide.”
De Lap says she was not trying to make BART look bad.
“It truly was about letting the community who live here understand that, yes, you see very scary things at Civic Center right now and it’s being very promoted, but this problem is happening EVERYWHERE — even in Concord, California.”
She says drug sales are so common at the end of the bus stop area they’ve begun calling it ‘The 7-Eleven’ and she says she finds people hanging out in the elevator area about 3 times per week.
If you think that’s an exaggeration, just look over the side of the garage roof. Countless needles have been tossed over the edge. As a 27-year veteran, De Lap says she still feels secure doing her job, but she struggles with what to tell the new station agents she trains.
“How do I tell a person who’s never really been within the bowels of BART if they’re going to be safe or not?” she asks.
Because BART stations are public places, they often reflect the problems faced by society in general — even in a place with white picket fences.