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Maybe next time a kid at Orchard Gardens School gets pricked by a needle, parents should demand an emergency meeting with the mayor

Following yesterday's attack on a corrections officer outside the South Bay jail, BPD blocked off the Methadone Mile street where it happened as officers swept the street, making 18 arrests, in a raid that even had a code name. A street sweeper was called in to clear out all the trash - after a bucket of needles was collected.

This morning, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins demanded an emergency meeting with Mayor Marty Walsh, Police Commissioner William Gross and Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins to figure out a more permanent solution:

I am calling for this meeting to happen without delay, because the situation outside of the House of Correction, within the Newmarket Square area and down Melnea Cass Boulevard has become untenable. The health and safety of our officers, staff and guests coming to the House of Correction is clearly in jeopardy, as is that of the other visitors to the area. In truth, it has been for some time.

Compare to what happened after a student at the Orchard Gardens School, just on the other side of Methadone Mile, was pricked by a needle while playing outside in the school yard - where addicts like to shoot up.

Parents organized a protest in which they briefly shut down Melnea Cass Boulevard.

No elected city officials showed up. After leaving the street, parents entered the school - which students had already left for the day - to continue the protest. A BPS official began yelling at them to vacate the school immediately, that they had no right to be there. Parents ignored him. The mayor's education aide, Rob Consalvo, who had watched the protest outside, then got into an argument with parents about whether the city was doing enough to protect the kids. One of the people he argued with was community activist Domingos DaRosa, who had, during the earlier part of the protest, led reporters on tours of the school playground and field looking for needles and other evidence of drug use - which they quickly found.

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BPD seems to focus traffic enforcement in spots where bad crashes occur. Now they're fighting crime in a location where a bad assault occurred.

Why aren't the police and street sweepers at this location every day or every week? Not just in reactionary mode?

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Voting closed 59

Once again, there is NO police presence in the high concentration areas of KNOWN criminal activity, drug use and abuse. The police show up, yuck it up, clean up and leave never to be seen again unless they are cruising through. Traffic on Blue Hill Ave, top to bottom, is hazardous. Gun range activity happened on Morton Street, near Dunkin Donuts, and following the incident there was no POLICE presence, no cruiser/SUV/bike patrol, nothing. However, the Dorchester Day Parade (family friendly event) was littered with police presence, horses, paddy wagons, bike unit, cruisers, you name it. The level of apathy for the quality of life in areas of crime is astounding, yet consistent.

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Specifically, it's because a LEO was assaulted. Let's not kid ourselves by thinking that the same level of concern would be had if it was a regular citizen that was harmed.

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of America. Thats why. Being pro-active is not what we do here. If you don't like it, apparently the POTUS thinks you should go back to whatever "hellhole" you come from.

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Jeez.. it’s almost as if this “heroin epidemic” that the police and medical professionals and several documentaries on Netflix have been screaming about is real!

Maybe the local media should I dunno, listen and report? Because it’s buried in both the Globe and Herald’s editions today.

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This is not about the opioid epidemic. Zones of lawlessness and public health hazard have existed before. While the specific details of what initially caused people to gather there (heroin on Methadone Mile, prostitution in the Combat Zone, gambling in early Chinatown, crack cocaine in Dudley, etc.) the common factor between all of them is that city authorities don't care enough about the regular people in the area to bother doing anything. Maybe it's racism, or classism, or garden-variety lack of political interest, but this is about Newmarket and South Bay not being treated with the same respect as other neighborhoods in the city.

We do not need to solve the entire opioid epidemic before we do something about the acute hazards presented by Methadone Mile. That's classic do-nothing thinking.

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Now, it's a problem.

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So, you moved them to another part of the city. Nice work.

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If they don't congregate there is such large numbers and commit crimes with impunity, then this would indeed be very nice work. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure almost every one of these people is already back at this intersection.

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I really, really feel for the Orchard Garden parents and students, along with those who live around the school, but the what went down yesterday was a response to a violent attack, person on person (or more accurately, a bunch of persons on one person.) What happened in response was a removal of people, some arrested while others were just sent packing. Then city workers cleaned up the block.

In the end, needles will probably reappear on Atkinson Street, probably later today. What is going on at Orchard Garden is people transiting, injecting poison in their veins while they pass by. Atkinson was an encampment. You cannot compare the two.

And to be clear, something needs to be done at Orchard Gardens, but what was done yesterday would not help them at all if done there.

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Children getting needle stabs isn't violent?

Get a clue - if they stopped housing detainees, they might have room for treatment centers and that would SOLVE the problem.

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The guy you responded to is wrong- children getting poked with used heroin needles on their own playground and possibly contracting aids or something else is 1000% worse than 1 adult guy getting beat up... but a child accidentally coming in contact and being poked by a needle isnt violent. When someone makes a bad argument you dont need to follow them down the dumbass hole

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Massachusetts does allow for involuntary commitment in the case of addicts. Some of the preventative measures to prevent or reduce addiction, such as suing drug companies, targeting traffickers of illegal fentynal are all good, but don't address those who are already addicted and beyond being able to make good choices for themselves.

There are plenty of resources in Boston for addicts to get help voluntarily. For the people who are still falling between the cracks and endangering the public by dropping needles on playgrounds and shitting in the street, the city should explore a civil commitment policy, similar to the statutes they use to lock up and monitor pedophiles who have served their time, but are still a pretty predictable risk to the public.

I have all the sympathy in the world for people who struggle with this affliction. I just din't think leaving them to sleep in the street, nod off while walking in to traffic or fighting each other for a fix is a humanitarian solution.

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Someone stabbing a kid with a needle = violent.

A kid getting pricked with a needle = not violent.

In other words, there is a difference between falling down a flight of stairs and being pushed down a flight of stairs. You are injured after both, but you have a clear assailant for one.

As far as your straw man argument goes, how many “detainees” are being held at South Bay, and how would that affect how we deal with junkies, especially in lieu of the DA’s new priorities?

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I’m guessing you don’t have children, or a soft spot for them. No child at school should be at risk for being accidentally pricked by a USED HEROIN NEEDLE while innocently playing at recess. This needle wasn’t left by somebody carelessly. This needle can cause infections and diseases that can cause serious harm to these innocent children. How is this different than a violent act? Why are you ok with drug addicts and violent humans lingering outside the school playground shooting up? How is this fair to our children and what example is this setting?

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But the thing is that Adam is attempting to conflate things that are barely related.

I hate that people shoot up heroin. Everything after that gets me more annoyed. But I do believe that a phrase was coined to discuss the last time laws were enforced to handle a drug scourge.

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AOK!

One police-adjacent person exposed to health risk: Drop everything! Now we've got a crisis on our hands!

It's pretty clear what the city's priorities are. Needle cleanup is expensive, but the police union represents a much bigger political risk to Mahty than the teacher's union..

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I agree that the police's reaction to this is telling on what matters to them. The press does the same thing when it comes to war or violence upon them. How about No violence upon anyone?

Unsure about the extension to the unions and the mayor though.

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I bet you get the same outrage if there was a video of a teacher getting out of their car and then assaulted by these zombies.

The other issue is that the City and Citizens have told the police that they want to get away from Broken Windows style policing. Rollins has pushed even further on this in her words anyway (she will not ignore these charges from last night you watch). There was a lot of stop and frisk action going on last night, with minor offenses being enforced and possibly prosecuted.

But the biggest issue here again is the video. If there was a video of a child getting stuck by a needle, you would have had $10 million raised for needle cleanup in a week, and methadone mile would have been cleaned up as well.

Although I do agree that someone being close to law enforement being attacked got this ball rolling. Even without a video you would have seen some action yesterday.

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Needles on a play ground IS NOT a "quality of life issue".

Needles on a play ground IS A HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUE.

I know you LEO morons think everything is a policing issue, but guess what? JUNKIES are a HEALTH ISSUE and NEEDLES are a HEALTH ISSUE.

But, no, have to whine incessently that you can't beat people up because you don't like them, then make HEALTH AND SAFETY issues into "wahhhhhh you don't want broken windows policing so we are going to whiiiiiine and do noooothhhhingggg for $200K a year!".

Sorry, but you should look up what things actually mean and understand that things aren't always solved by beating people up so that they know COPS are IN CONTROL!

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Why are you even talking to me? You are an “anon on Friday” with zero value to this planet. Lol did a cop have sex with your wife or something? I can see why.

I mean seriously, let’s leave your wife out of it for a second. If it was a health issue, why haven’t health professionals done anything about that area by now. Because it is a pubic order issue, and there are general laws on the books which specifically deal with this.

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10/10 good sir.
Especially the "broken windows" line. Stop and Frisk is unconstitutional. FULL STOP. What one sees around methadone mile would not be a stop and frisk scenario. PEOPLE ARE DEALING DRUGS AND USING DRUGS OUT IN THE OPEN. They aren't even trying to hide it. I have seen heroin deals happening with a police cruiser 50 feet away.
I was busted once for smoking a joint late at night in Chinatown, by a single bike cop. So don't tell me its the DA's fault. The police are knowingly turning a blind eye to what happening in that area. If that's due to orders from the mayor, police chief, or the union trying out some weird flex to get citizens worked up, or if you're all simply cowards that don't want to get into it with junkies, is besides the point. The bottom line is POLICE AREN'T DOING THEIR JOBS HERE.
Citizens should keep complaining, keep protesting, and keep demanding more from our police force until it can no longer be ignored.

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But it happens every day in Boston and has been since the Terry vs Ohio case in the 1960s that made a frisk legal to begin with. It is not unconstitutional and never has been. Go to Dorchester court on Tuesday and you will see two stop and frisk cases. Hundreds of rulings a year in legal stop and frisks in Boston alone.

The police will do whatever you want . The problem is “Marco” from the internet has zero credibility.

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Because once a marked cruiser goes down the street, the open sealing stops. One unmarked? You’ll catch one deal and then everyone else scatters. Do it the next day and the zombies will be quicker. In day three there will be a lookout and the guy that was arrested the first day is back again dealing and using.

I’m not arguing that policing open drug markets is any sort of solution, but there is no other agency can can do anything else is there?

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I’m not arguing that policing open drug markets is any sort of solution

Except the rest of your post really seems to suggest that you think the police can not fix the problem, and therefore should not police the area. Sadly, this seems to be the attitude of many BPD officers. I understand that dealing with a situation like this is frustrating and can seem pointless, but this is the job you signed up for. Don't worry about other agencies. If you see the same drug dealers selling hard drugs in the same area every day, your job and your responsibility to the citizens of the neighborhood and the city is to arrest them every day.

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There are needles all over the city.

You're trying to compare someone accidentally being pricked by a discarded needle, to an attack by a violent mob.

Yes the city needs to address both, but the incidents are far from the same.

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Jail employees are members of a union, which (a) donates to politicians and (b) probably votes as a bloc.

School parents (a) almost certainly don't donate in any significant amount and (b) may not vote at all, and certainly don't vote as a bloc.

There's your difference right there.

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So, are there any recommended articles about "Methadone Mile?" I know I can (and will) google for it, but would appreciate input from others on any good reporting that has been done about it.

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Oh, boy, did you ask for it...

Start with the search function here on UHub. You'll get some good articles from Adam.

Search keywords: besides "methadone mile", try "Long Island Bridge",

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Put plainly:

Methadone Mile is a place where they dump all the heroin addict's and their clinics. Its always been a bad area-used to be more so due to gang violence, but now its because the bridge to former treatment center in Quincy was allowed to deteriorate tot he point it was non-operational. There often homeless and wait around near the methadone clinics and shelters so they can be easily found by drug dealers and there friends. If they OD Boston medical is right around the corner to revive them. At nighttime place is surreal. Full of gangstas prostitutes and sight of frequent skirmishes, stabbings and other things that would have you forget you were in the Athens of America. No one actually cares about Methadone Mile though because its in a black part of the city and its Boston.

Prior to 2015 the closest thing to Methadone Mile was Dudley Square and that was for crackhead not heroin addicts.

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It’s in an industrial non residential area. Overflow affects black Roxbury neighborhoods, mixed South End neighborhoods, and white Andrew Square.

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What happened to the cooling tent & TVs that Walsh proposed two years ago....? That was a nice idea.... Not.
I can't figure out why the open air drug market, staggering panhandlers, crack smoking, etc has been tolerated for so long. BPD could have had a sweep of that area on any day with the same results in the last 3 or 4 years.
It's a complicated problem but to just let it fester can't be the answer. How are so many people walking the streets with outstanding warrants...?

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BPD sweeps that almost every day but the people return an hour later until they are moved along again. Should the police arrest them for loitering? How long should they keep them for? Should we have cops to monitor them for withdrawal in their cells? If they go to the hospital, that’s two more police to guard them and we’re already complaining about all the overtime these guys are earning. If their methadone clinics and dealers are there, how do you prevent them from returning and congregating?

It’s near a bunch of warehouses, between the South End, Dudley and Andrew. A hospital, clinics, a jail and homeless shelters all nearby. Many of us drive through there but those who live there have been complaining for years. I’ve seen people comment that they’re heartless, entitled (because maybe they live in a brownstone) and selfish.

This is not new - no one complained when it was on the island because they didn’t have to see it. We can’t arrest our way out of this. And how are you going to keep them locked up anyhow? The problem is we have an epidemic of homelessness, mental illness and drug use that no one wants to see but no one wants to fund.

And for all of you commenting on Orchard Gardens- if you didn’t take any action in the past, maybe now is a good time to call your elected officials and request the fence around their playground for them because this isn’t going away any time soon.

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We can’t arrest our way out of this

This pithy sound bite is so frustrating. There's an open-air drug market literally outside of a jail, with prostitution, violence, public lewdness, and all manner of other behavior going on continuously, and you really want people to believe that enforcing any of the dozens or hundreds of laws being broken wouldn't help?

I don't want people arrested for possessing drugs, or using drugs in private. I do want people arrested for using hard drugs in public. This is an easy line to draw and I don't know why it's so confusing for some people. But even if we set the drug use issue aside, many of the people who congregate here should be arrested on outstanding warrants, or for selling drugs, or disorderly conduct, or shitting in public, weapons charges, assault, robbery, etc.

This is not about drugs. These are regular crimes, not "symptoms" of what the public has suddenly decided is a "disease", and the people engaging in them are criminals, even if they happen to also be addicted to drugs. This is the city not caring about a neighborhood with no political power, and do-gooders from elsewhere in the city trying to feel superior by scolding the locals when they try to advocate for themselves.

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To clarify, we cannot arrest our way out of it because they just come back the next day. Arresting someone for shooting up will do nothing but take a jail cell for the night and those people will be back on the street the next day. We can’t just expect the police to keep arresting and figure that’ll get rid of the problem- it hasn’t yet.

How do you make these people not want to come back and congregate? We don’t have enough police man power to stand on every corner there all day and night (I’m surprised no journalists have written about how short Boston is on police).

We need to educate kids as of 4th grade not high school, hold medical providers who are consistently over prescribing accountable, have more beds available so when someone is ready they don’t begin detoxing on their own and give up. We need support care for jobs, education and housing after detox because 28 days isn’t enough. We need to expect other towns/the state to help with costs as many of these people aren’t from Boston. Arresting people so that they are back the next day doesn’t help. And, sorry to break it to you, but even gun possession or pimping doesn’t prevent you from coming back the next day until your court case is called (if you even want to show up again). That’s what I mean by we can’t arrest our way out of this. Ask any cop who arrested someone there last week if they’ll just see the same person next week....

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Arresting a drug user for using in public permanently severs the user from their stash of drugs, forcing them to get more before they can use again. Arresting somebody for illegal gun possession severs them from their gun. Yes, they may well be resupplied and back in the same location tomorrow, but if it keeps happening, they may decide not to congregate in this location. There is simply no downside right now to gathering in huge groups here and openly engaging in criminal activity. Somebody carrying an illegal gun should at least be a little nervous when they see a cop; currently, on Methadone Mile, that is not the case.

It took years of disinterest and racist/classist public policy to create the current toxic stew of "service" concentration, liability loopholes, enforcement gaps, etc., and I know it will take a long time to unwind it. I also know that a whole lot of people are making a ton of money from this situation, and the negatives are all "externalities" that nobody is accountable for. But none of that means that a cop in a marked cruiser should just sit there and stare at crime in progress.

It's not a solution, but it's certainly better than just allowing these people to continue degrading themselves with impunity, taking the whole area with them. Even a mild dispersal to other areas would be an improvement over the status quo.

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Yeah imprisoning homeless people will really help address the roots of the heroin epidemic. Stop licking boots.

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The vast majority of the people who loiter at Mass Ave. and Melnea Cass are not homeless; they're in from outside the city to buy drugs or engage in other criminal behavior, or they're in drug treatment in the area and are hanging out with other patients. Talk to any of the longer-term homeless in the South End or Roxbury and they will confirm this, and may also express their distaste for this new anti-social population.

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I was at this protest at Orchard Gardens. I don’t know where you received your information about this event but it is not accurate. Where you there?

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Here are the photos to prove it. What do you think I got wrong?

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In reaction to community concerns, the city cleaned (or attempted to clean) the park that very day. In short, it was the same as what happened this week, minus the people causing the problem being there to arrest.

I guess both of agree that heroin junkies should be arrested and treated harshly. I mean, it’s your point, right?

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