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Be careful reaching for things in Newmarket Square

Abandoned needles in Newmarket Square

Despite intense efforts by a city crew to pick up needles, Newmarket Square, where Methadone Mile begins (or ends), remains full of abandoned syringes. ZD Gordon shows us a not-so-rare Newmarket Porcupine.

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I live in Roxbury outside of Jackson Sq and it has become my second job calling in needles to the city. Honestly, it's rare if I have a week where I don't have to report any syringes. Since last Fall I've probably found somewhere around 40-50 in my neighborhood and on my walk from the gym-home or on my runs in the Southwest Corridor. I'm happy to report them and help a bit to make sure no one steps on them, but gosh I wish there was a way for people to dispose of them better than leaving them lying on the sidewalk, in parks, etc. I guess that sounds kind of silly, wishing that people shooting up would help dispose of their needles properly but I really do worry about people (or their kids or my dogs) stepping on them at the park near my house.

As our fearless leader would say...SAD!

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I've seen some near the mystic on the Arlington/Medford border.

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Boston 311, for all of its problems does have a place where you can report needles, take pics, describe the location and pin it. They come within 24 hours to clean them up even here in Roxbury, where we don't exactly get superior service.

Not sure about outside of the city though.

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I used to shoot dope and by the grace of God I changed my life around several years ago. The real reason why addicts cannot walk over to a trash receptacle to throw their used needles away is because once they inject the dope, the drug effects them immediately and the needle just falls out of their hand and the addict falls out of reality by so-called "nodding out". They can't even focus on walking or focus on balancing themselves while waiting for a train at an MBTA platform. That is why there are so many needles on the ground. My post may anger a lot of you, but that's why they can't hold onto the needles, walk to a trash bin, and throw them away. As a recovered addict, I'm supposed to have compassion for addicts. But my recovery has actually made me angry at them and the addiction and what it does to people and society.

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Are those caps on some of the needles in the photo? How do they put the cap on while they're passing out?

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How many sharps disposals are along Melnea Cass Boulevard and Crosstown Center? There should be one every six feet!! And chained and padelocked to the fence. Wouldn't these things be considered a biohazard?? I feel bad foe the cleanup crew.

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Thank you for writing this.

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i'm glad you recovered, and this isn't targeted at you...

but throwing needles into a public trash bin isn't a solution either. workers have to pull those bags out and are exposed to pricking themselves and the can-collecting set dive into trash bags with reckless abandon.

having sharps containers all over the place isn't a solution either.

since the opiate epidemic isn't going away, maybe we can just convince everyone who does smack to smoke it? no needles, no blood-born pathogens! almost everyone wins! (except, of course, the addicts, their families, medical/criminal infrastructures, and society on the whole)

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Having sharps containers in public places absolutely IS a solution. Make it easier for people to throw away needles safely, and it will mean fewer needles on the ground.

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In downtown Vegas the [older and seedier] casinos have them in the bathrooms. It's a little nonplussing that they are needed there, but better to have them then have sharps discarded in trash cans or other places that would put workers and patrons at risk.

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A few public rest rooms around here have them.

They're not just for drug abusers. They're also for people who take prescription injectable drugs.

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so are you saying that seven people shot up at that spot and then dropped the needles there? sounds a bit far fetched. someone dumped their collection for whatever reason but I don't buy the theory that you shoot up and drop the needle where you got high. maybe one random needle and id believe it but those were dumped by an asshole, plain and simple.

im very happy to hear you are clean. ive lost so many to this garbage. I wish you the best.

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Oh my God that is gross. Reminds me of the scene in Saw when the girl falls into a pit of used needles and they get stuck all over her. I drove by MM when I got off the Roxbury (where I live) exit on Sunday and there must have been a record number of people all along the MM strip. Tons of litter and people falling over. That area has not shown any change for so long now. I guess nothing can be done. Sad.

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I'm pretty tired of it myself.

Letting Long Island bridge slip into disrepair was a giant mistake. (Starting with Menino)

Letting a bunch of private treatment centers bus addicts to Methadone Mile ever day is a giant mistake.

If addicts have their stuff together we'll enough to find dope and pan-handle, I'd like to know why they can't also dispose of needles better, and pick up all the trash at their campsites. Maybe just wishful thinking on my part.

The City does deserve some credit for the needle clean-up team. They react fast and I appreciate that service. But preventing the spread of needles would be so much better.

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It's not like Boston is litter-free except for sharps. There's trash on the streets everywhere. It's well past time for Boston to start deploying hokeys again (paid for by fees on parking permits, which will help with another problem).

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paid for by fees on parking permits

It should absolutely be done immediately!

And someone else should pay for it.

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but why can't GE build a new bridge to Long Island? If not let them shoot up in GE's new lobby.

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This is truly disgusting! And they're everywhere! These addicts are just being enabled by the city to get and stay high!! Not one bit, do I think this is acceptable! I don't like that my daughter is not allowed to go to certain parts of the city without me because it's not safe! Time to clean it up, and clean up these addicts!

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"Enabled by the city" - I don't think you get it. Opioids addiction is not a "habit" driven by convenience. No matter how hard or easy it is, people will get high because they have to. It is not like casual drinking or smoking weed. People become addicted quickly. Without it you become violently ill. If the only palace to get dope was fifty miles away addicts would still do whatever it takes to get it, to not be sick. It has nothing to do with convenience.

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Why is the only palace (a spelling error, I know, but it feels Freudian) in Newmarket, or on the Common, or in Taunton? Heck, almost nobody lives in Newmarket, so why all the needles? I get the idea of the physical cravings, but why are certain places ruined by this shit?

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an unfortunate reality on the Greenway as well. :-(

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We should keep on giving away free needles. That will for sure prevent hazardous litter.

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Drug users are only leaving needles behind because they are free. No other reason. /sarc

(Needle exchange programs are good in that when properly used, help reduce infectious disease and provide another point of entry into addition services)

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You going to leave behind your only way to inject if it is a challenge to get more?

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People who just injected heroin aren't known for taking good care of their belongings. If they couldn't get clean needles they would pick up used ones off the street leading to the spread of diseases like HIV.

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Needles have finite uses so even before needle exchange you would need to find a way to get new needles eventually, and then you leave your broken needles behind.

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... should be emphasized more?

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Has more needles than passengers

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So, I have a ton (maybe 200, probably more) of leftover needles after many rounds of IVF. Anywhere I can donate them locally to an organization to get them to needy individuals?

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I moved out of Boston in 2014 and live abroad now. I worked in the Lower Roxbury/South End/Newmarket Sq area from 2010-2014. I definitely noticed a major uptick in the numbers of people who were completely strung out in the area (especially what I referred to as the "creepy park" - Franklin Sq). All along Mass Ave from Mass Ave station down to Melnea Cass I noticed more and more syringes. My friends and colleagues in the area had to deal with people passed out on their front steps, numerous break ins, aggressive harassment from homeless people, and generally feeling less safe.

I spent a lot of time traveling through eastern Canada and noticed sharps bins in public restrooms (gas stations, grocery stores, etc) were quite common and sadly often full as well. Still, better than needles littering the ground or employees cleaning getting exposed to sharps. I don't recall seeing many of these in Boston.

Boston urgently needs innovative responses to this crisis on multiple fronts. The resources and capacity are there.

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