ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For the second time in a month, a Colorado library had to close its doors to clean up methamphetamine contamination.
Officials in the Denver suburb of Englewood closed the city library last week a couple of hours after receiving test results Wednesday showing contamination in the facility’s restrooms exceeded state limits, he said. city spokesman Chris Harguth.
Other spaces, such as countertops, have also tested positive for lower levels of the drug and will require specialized cleaning, he said. Larger-scale work will include removal of contaminated surfaces, walls, ductwork, and extraction equipment.
The southern Denver city of about 33,000 decided to test for the drug after authorities in the nearby college town of Boulder closed its main library after detecting methamphetamine contamination, Harguth said.
This is the latest example of the balance urban libraries must strike between making their facilities welcoming to all and keeping them clean and safe. When a surge of library overdoses hit the mid-2010s as the opioid crisis spread across the United States, some libraries were stocked with the antidote Naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan.
So far it appears that library closings caused by methamphetamine contamination are limited to Colorado, according to spokesman Raymond Garcia of the American Library Association, who is not aware of them elsewhere in the country in recent years. . The group declined to comment on whether drug use has increased in libraries, citing a lack of up-to-date data.
Authorities say methamphetamine residues can be irritating, causing symptoms such as a scratchy throat, runny nose, and red eyes. But secondary exposure is not thought to cause long-term chronic health problems, Harguth said.
It is the third largest seizure in Border Patrol history.