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Drug overdoses spiking in Boston

City health officials and police are trying to figure out what's causing a sharp increase in drug overdoses in Boston this year.

The Boston Public Health Commission said today the city had 32 suspected overdoses this past weekend - concentrated downtown and in East Boston and Dorchester. The same period last year saw just 8 overdoses.

In a statement, the commission said samples from street purchases by Boston Police "have not indicated more potency or drugs laced with particular potentially-fatal substances."

The commission added that as of yesterday, first responders had administered 761 doses of Narcan - a drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdoes - this year, compared to 499 times for the same period last year.

The increase mirrors a similar jump reported by State Police for the rest of Massachusetts.

AHOPE, a harm reduction program for active injection drug users, is conducting street outreach, overdose prevention education, and needle exchange in the Downtown Crossing area while connecting substance users to needed resources. In BPHC homeless shelters, our Overdose Prevention Manager is providing lifesaving Narcan trainings to further prevent overdose. BPHC is also increase our prevention messaging through traditional flyering of hot spot areas, and has partnered with community health centers and businesses to spread awareness on the importance of overdose prevention in restrooms and bedrooms, known drug use spots.

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Comments

I'm sure it has NOTHING to do with Long Island closing or anything...

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I made the mistake of walking by the Chinatown stop on Boyleston down to the park a few days ago and that stretch of road has become so grim. I was sexually harassed by every single person who wasn't sitting on the ground clutching their stomach. Very nice job of gentrifying the downtown.

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The closing of LI shelter displaced so many addicts. Many of which (maybe all?) were in recovery. And they were sent to shelters that house current drug users! So irresponsible! Walsh ran on a platform to help addicts yet here we are. It is so very sad.

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It's totally unconscionable that Mass continues to operate wet shelters. It is so hard for people who have hit bottom to pull themselves up, but being housed with active users is one problem the state should be able to prevent.

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Heroin prices have been dropping sharply for a few years now, which is adding to this problem.

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Okay, I'll be that guy.

Basically, there needs to be a two pronged approach to dealing with heroin in Boston and Massachusetts, dealing with demand and supply.

First, there needs to be treatment on demand.

Second, heroin dealers should be hunted down and locked away for a long, long time. Okay, I cannot channel LaTulippe, but there should be a war on opiates in Massachusetts. That shit debilitates people even if they don't die. A few years back I read The New Jim Crow, and sorry, I did not take away from the book what the author wanted me to. Crack fucked up people and fucked up communities, and the strong arm approach was the right on. What they did for crack they should do for heroin.

Take away the demand, there no reason to supply. Take away the supply, it's less likely addiction grows. I feel a bit for the addicts, even though I shudder when I see the drug addled on the train or on the street. I have no sympathy for the dealers. Back in the 1980s I was visiting one of my uncles in Ireland. He was gushing about how the Indonesian approach to drugs- kill dealers and traffickers- is the right one. I am not ready to go that far, at least not yet.

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Lock away heroin dealers for a long time? Roxbury court can't even be bothered with street corner dealers being brought in. It's a waste of their time.

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As Pete noted yesterday, drugs are the only things that bring mandatory minimums. Back in the 1980s no one thought it was unfair that crack got you much longer sentences than powder cocaine. Now that crack is "out of fashion", people cry racism. I say that we should instead take that anti-crack fervor and apply it to heroin.

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Look up Portugal - this is a public health problem.

The US has huge drug problems because we treat addition with the criminal justice system.

You might as well start jailing people for heart attacks.

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The discrepancy between crack and cocaine did not make sense. Crack is simply cocaine with baking soda. The baking soda expedites the aborption of the chemical that results in the high.

The distinction was based on class. Crack was mostly used among poor while cocaine was used among middle class. The effect was too sets of penalties based on class (which often was reflected in skin color.)

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I could not care less if powder and crack were treated on parity, as long as the sentences were raised to crack levels.

It's like the 1980s never happened for some people. Yes, middle and upper class people snorted coke, and some commenters on this site wasted years of their lives away being functioning addicts, but were they gangs shooting it out on the streets due to powder? I would also note that crack was/is more addictive, hence crime due to addicts went up. Same shit with heroin today, except that the dealers are quieter.

The supply side knew what they were getting into. No sympathy there. Heck, the foot soldiers made less than if they worked in MacDonalds, which casts into doubt their intelligence.

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I agree that change needs to happen with the drug trade. I can not agree with the fact that you share sympathy with the addict and not the dealer. I can see you place blame on the dealer, but I place blame on the system...the system of the "trade" and the government itself. To say the addict isn't guilty of their own crimes and their own destruction is saying that you are an enabler. It's saying that these dealers said to them, "Spend your money and shoot this dope in your arm or sniff it." No one forces you to do drugs its a choice that individual made. No one blames tobacco companies for killing millions, or liqour for aiding murders. Truly I believe the addict, the dealer, and the government are to blame for all of our "innner city" woes. When we all can agree take responsibility forgive ourselves then each other, then maybe we really can truly come to a better solution.

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I do not sell drugs, nor have I encouraged people to use drugs.

I feel for the addicts only in that no one sets out to ruin their lives. They need a way out. Of course, some don't want out. The key is keeping their ranks from growing. Hence, a well balanced diet is treatment and incarceration.

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Close the private sale loophole, require all narcotics to be sold via prescription nationwide. That will stop the traffic from states with lax laws.

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You cannot purchase drugs w/out a prescription here....

Not being coy - I know where you are going with this... but it implies that we allow narcotics purchase to those w/out a legit medical need: is anyone really ready for this? We can barely deal with the new marijuana laws right now.

I wish we were at this point but we are so far away.

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Runners (i.e., people working for a main supplier going door-to-door in a car) deliver this shit - and by shit I mean H - in our neighborhoods everynight....
West Roxbury - up by Washington Street is the most popular area I know of but by no means the only.
Roslindale - almost everywhere but less towards the part lining the WR parkway going from Eastbourne to Weld
JP - you can guess the places as well as I but drugs mostly do not discriminate against race/income/class when using is involved

Point - I don't have one.

I do have a question though... how does it stop or how do we stop it?

And fuck it I'll ask - why does it seem like the Dominicans run the show here?

Go ahead: flame away.

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look up drugs inc boston aired earlier this year. couldn't agree more about WR/Roslindale, police are always arresting someone in the cvs/ BK parking lot and the stretch of washington st down to the square

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This is not strictly a matter for the courts. In fact, part of the abysmal record the US has in this area is due to our collectively erroneous decision to use jails to punish drug use rather than public health measures to treat drug use.

Portugal had an exploding drug problem. 1% of population addicted to Heroin. Then they stopped using jails and started using treatment programs and ... 50% reduction in 12 years while neighboring areas still saw rises in addiction.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29829315

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But those who are creating these addicts should spend a long time with only a view of the sky and some walls. South Walpole is nice this time of year.

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I'm curious if something has changed re: the supply -- not talking about dealers, but back to the producers and importers. A legacy of Iraqistan, perhaps?

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