Video shows woman shooting up in Downtown
It's not a new issue in Downtown Anchorage, but a recent video that surfaced on social media is raising questions about Alaska's drug problem, and whether it's getting worse.
Miykael Taylor, who recorded the video and later posted it to social media, said it's not the first time he's seen drug activity Downtown, but this time he decided to pull out his phone and document the moment because he's never seen it quite like this: Bold and out in the open for everyone to see.
"I look down and I see this lady, her elbow and I see the syringe, and so I'm thinking to myself, 'Wow, broad daylight, no care in the world. Maybe this is medicine,' so I kept walking. Then I stopped and I said to myself, 'Okay, well let's videotape this anyway just for reference for yourself, this is what's going on in the City of Anchorage.' This is pretty bad," said Taylor.
The video has now been shared more than 300 times on Facebook and reached 25,000 views, but in the moment, Taylor said the woman didn't seem to care she was being recorded.
"She looked up at me as I was videoing and I asked her, 'Do you need help?' and she just kept doing her business," he said.
The Anchorage Downtown Partnership has received at least one call about the video, with the caller asking what is being done to combat drug use Downtown.
Paul Rochford, operations director for the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, said he's seen his share of needles and people smoking marijuana and spice Downtown, but he's never seen someone injecting a substance into their body in the middle of the day for bystanders to see.
"Just sitting right there on the curb is more unusual," said Rochford, standing at the place on H Street between 5th and 4th Avenues where the video was taken.
He believes a solution is in the works and progress is being made, even if the video is a powerful contradictory visual.
"The municipality is taking steps to get different agencies working together to figure out what we can do and how we can best do it, so it's happening and it's been happening, it's just a slow process," explained Rochford.
"Night and day," said Taylor, "I've been in this city for over 25 years, so I've seen the good and the bad, and this is the ugly."
Taylor hopes the video will encourage Alaskans to do their part to help, and Rochford hopes it won't discourage them from being a positive presence Downtown.
"There's a hundred things that happened right before that video, and a thousand things that happened after the video. You saw five seconds on one street corner of Anchorage that somebody wanted you to see -- and it's important -- but it's not the only thing and it doesn't define Downtown," said Rochford.
Both Anchorage Police and the Downtown Partnership have foot patrols or ambassadors that regularly confront drug users and try to offer them help.
Rochford says if you witness drug use Downtown, the best thing to do is alert Anchorage Police, and if you believe someone is having a medical emergency, call 911.
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