PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- In a stunningly vivid example of the state's ongoing drug epidemic, video captured Tuesday shows four people sharing needles on an apartment stoop in broad daylight.
The video appears to show a man injecting himself with a needle in his hand on a set of stairs at 33 Alder Street in Portland. Minutes later, he offers the needle, which he appears to fill with a substance, to another woman, who then offers her neck as an injection site.
While it is unclear exactly what substance, if any, was in the needles, the person who shot the video believes it was heroin.
The person who captured the video works in the area and said they wanted to shine a light on the issue. The person said they got threats after posting the video online and has since removed it. They said the post got shared more than 10,000 times and got hundreds of comments.
They did not want to be identified but said they constantly interact with people doing drugs in public, and often in areas where they work.
In a text message, the person wrote, in part: I recorded the video because we see this stuff on a daily basis. It's pretty heavy to watch. This particular time it was brutal. If we continue to treat this addiction like it's something we expect to see then how is it going to change or get better.
People who live in the area said drug activity is common in that neighborhood.
"I've seen people shooting up in the street more than once," said Lauren Fedorchak, who lost a relative to an overdose. "In the long run, it's just terrible, life-threatening, devastating thing."
The area was littered with needles, caps, and baggies earlier Thursday. People who live near there said there are young kids who live in the neighborhood.
"I know we have a couple, young kids living upstairs, and when we see needles around, it's kind of concerning," said Keegan Whitford.
People in the neighborhood agreed that making people aware of the issue is important.
"As graphic as it is, I think it's important to show, like spread awareness about that that is right out in the open in the space that you live in," said Whitford.
"I think people need to see it because it's still going on and it's an issue, so until it's controlled or something is done about it, people need to speak out about it," said Fedorchak.
Portland Recovery Community Center Counselor Krista Fowler called the person's actions "horrendous."
"I cannot believe someone would secretly tape this and then share it on a social media site. It's sad to watch. Addicts aren't going to watch it and have an epiphany because they live it. This is something that they do more than once a day, usually all day long, this is part of their life. As hard as it is to watch, it's a lot harder to live through," said Fowler.