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Needles continue to pour into Roxbury school playgrounds

WFXT reports on a meeting last night between parents whose kids go to schools in the area of Clifford Park and Melnea Cass Boulevard and city officials over what have become needle parks - three months after parents blocked traffic on Melnea Cass Boulevard to protest all the needles in the Orchard Gardens School playground.

Video from the meeting.

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FFS, community trainings on safe sharps disposal and actual sharps collection containers (like that big red one in the cut on Northampton Street).

Orchard Park kids/families deserve safe and dignified places to play and learn!

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Voting closed 26

don't have proper disposal of used syringes upper-most on their disjointed minds. A better idea would be to get them off the streets. By force.And treat them. By force. This business of dumping mentally ill, vagrant drug addicts and alcoholics onto the streets needs to stop across the entire country. There are unused buildings, closed supermarkets, even close to abandoned malls, that can be easily converted and used. The state and federal government need to take charge..

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Voting closed 34

Because I'm sure that's why the addicts in the park aren't disposing of their needles properly. If only there was a large red disposal bin there, after shooting up in the middle of the night, they'd wander over and properly dispose of said needle. Why didn't anyone think of this? Of COURSE now, they only option they have is to just drop the used needle on the playground!

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Voting closed 9

I rarely agree with you but this x100000000

I know a few locations of these boxes are, they are only good when they are used.

When a junkie injects.. they usually nod off right away. Sometimes with the needle in their arm. Usually by the time they 'wake up' enough to move, the needle has fallen out and on the ground. Most are too high to even think about disposing of the needle so there it sits.

Wash.Rinse.Repeat.

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Voting closed 20

for harm reduction and community education.

EDIT: nowhere in my comment did I say "the reason that IV drug users are leaving used needles on the playground is that there needs to be a sharps collection box."

That's not even a full sentence.

The "reasons" for used needles being carelessly disposed are manifold. The fact that drug addiction is a disease plays a big part of it.

Imagine being mad at someone giving an opinion on sharps disposal boxes, haha

***

Oh, and it's not just "junkies" that use sharps. Folks who inject insulin and other medications, transgender people who inject hormones...are just some of community members who also need access to clean needles and a safe place to disposed of used sharps.

Why cant, say, Harvard School of Public Health or BPHC (or both!) distribute sharps disposal boxes?

Or at least teach folks that they can use resealed water/soda bottles to dispose of sharps.

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Copy/pasted from the Boston Public Health Commission website:

Access, Harm Reduction, Overdose Prevention and Education (AHOPE)

AHOPE is a harm reduction and needle exchange site providing a range of service to active injection drug users, including:
Integrated HIV/ Hepatitis/ and STI testing
Free, legal, and anonymous needle exchange
Supported referrals to HIV, Hepatitis, STI treatment, and medical
Overdose prevention education and training
Risk reduction supplies to reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C infection
Risk reduction counseling
Supported referrals to all modalities of substance abuse treatment
AHOPE services are available at the walk-in center at 774 Albany Street and through mobile van and outreach sites around Boston.

For the AHOPE van schedule or for more information, please call 617-534-3976.

AHOPE Walk-In Hours at 774 Albany Street

Monday: 7:30-10:30 a.m., reopen 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 7:30-noon, reopen 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 7:30-noon, reopen 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Thursday: Tuesday: 7:30-noon, reopen 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Friday: Tuesday: 7:30-noon, reopen 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

Who is eligible? The program serves active injection drug users in the Boston metropolitan area. Families, friends, and healthcare providers may contact AHOPE to learn about harm reduction and overdose prevention strategies for active users.

(Link source: http://www.bphc.org/whatwedo/Recovery-Services/services-for-active-users...)

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SAFE NEEDLE AND SYRINGE DISPOSAL

​Sharps Disposal Many Boston residents use syringes to manage a variety of health care conditions at home such as diabetes, allergies, multiple sclerosis, and others. The safe disposal of needles, syringes, and lancets (sharps) is necessary to protect residents, sanitation/municipal workers, and the environment.​

What should I do with my used syringes?
Used syringes and other sharps should always be placed in a sharps container and disposed of safely – either at a drop-off site or in a mail-back program. IV drug users can also enroll in a Needle Exchange Program for needle exchange and other harm reduction services. Do not clip, bend, or recap needles and always keep sharps and containers away from children and pets.

Can I put my used syringes in the trash?
No. Throwing syringes in the trash, recycling bin, or disposing them anywhere that is not a safe needle disposal container is against the law and could lead to a fine. Sharps that have been improperly disposed of pose a health and safety risk to the public and to sanitation workers. Sharps and syringes must be disposed of at a needle and syringe disposal drop-off site or through a medical mail-back service.

What should I do if I find a needle on a public way?
If you find a needle on a sidewalk or other public way, please call the Mayor’s Hotline at 3-1-1. Provide the location of the needle(s) with as much detail as possible and the Mobile Sharps Team will locate and collect the waste.

DROP-OFF SITES IN BOSTON

AIDS Action Committee
75 Amory Street
Boston​, MA 02130
617-450-1379

​Boston Health Care for the Homeless
780 Albany Street
Boston, MA 02118
857-654-1641​

​Boston Public Health Commission
35 Northampton Street
Boston, MA 02118
617-534-5395

Project Trust
721 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02118
617-414-4495

Neponset Health Center
398 Neponset Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02122
617-534-5395

​MA Alliance of Portuguese Speakers
1 Stoughton Street
Dorchester, MA 02125
617-825-5897

Walgreens Community Pharmacy
21-23 Stanhope Street
Boston, MA 02116
617-375-7969

​Women of Color AIDS Council
409 Blue Hill Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02121-4309
617-541-1050

​Dimock Community Health Center
55 Dimock Street
Roxbury, MA 02119
617-442-8800

Clifford Park
171 Norfolk Ave
Boston, MA 02119

Orchard Garden Park
Roxbury, MA 02119

​​​
(Link source: http://www.bphc.org/whatwedo/Recovery-Services/services-for-active-users...)

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Voting closed 2

When you kiss the butt of drug addicts, this is what you get. Stop encouraging bad behavior.

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Over there in your fake reality in which people don't respond to incentives?

What's your plan to drive the poppy plant into extinction? That's literally the only answer to stopping opioid abuse.

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Who said anything about stopping opioid abuse? I couldn't care less if somebody wants to use drugs. It's simply unacceptable for people to leave hazardous items around in public, especially small items like used needles that could be contaminated with fentanyl or a blood-borne illness, double-especially in a place frequented by children. I don't care if the needles are being left by addicts, terrorists, or leprechauns. We need to deal with this.

Trying to help drug users instead of criminalizing their health problems is great. But if the way we're doing it results in a large concentration of hazardous materials contaminating public spaces, we need to change how we're doing it, end of story. The needs of the neighborhood and the children who use these playgrounds clearly outweigh the desire of the drug treatment industry to ignore community impacts and essentially offload the costs of dealing with these impacts to their non-drug-using neighbors.

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...that will definitely solve the problem. We'll call it a..."War on Drugs." That'll take care of all that "bad behavior" in no time!

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Just like Nancy told us on Different Strokes in 1983.

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I was taught to say "No, thank you."

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its okay to forget manners when talking to drug pushers

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I wish the Reagans would have taken their own advice and said "no" to distributing drugs in the inner city.

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Enforce littering laws. See someone drop a needle or toss a cigarette butt in a park? Fine them and make them clean up their mess. Repeat offenders should have to do community service people up needles and other trash.

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Voting closed 8

I’d love to see how this would work out. Have you ever seen someone right after they shoot up? Do you really think they are capable of proper needle disposal?

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Safe spaces where people sign in and use what they got with safe needles provided.

In the meantime, they get good messages about addiction treatment.

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Yes, I do. Especially when it comes to needle exchange and training persons with addiction/IV drug users to carry/use Narcan, use condoms, etc.

This whole city needs community education in harm reduction, tbh.

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If there isn't a law requiring this now, there should be.

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Let the addicted collect and redeem used needles to get a fix. This would take care of most of the issues.

How many needles are currently distributed to addicts in Massachusetts every year?

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I wonder why this isn't required already.

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Further up-thread I copy/pasted some information about Sharps Disposal Sites in Boston and I'm posting it again here:

SAFE NEEDLE AND SYRINGE DISPOSAL

​Sharps Disposal Many Boston residents use syringes to manage a variety of health care conditions at home such as diabetes, allergies, multiple sclerosis, and others. The safe disposal of needles, syringes, and lancets (sharps) is necessary to protect residents, sanitation/municipal workers, and the environment.​

What should I do with my used syringes?
Used syringes and other sharps should always be placed in a sharps container and disposed of safely – either at a drop-off site or in a mail-back program. IV drug users can also enroll in a Needle Exchange Program for needle exchange and other harm reduction services. Do not clip, bend, or recap needles and always keep sharps and containers away from children and pets.

Can I put my used syringes in the trash?
No. Throwing syringes in the trash, recycling bin, or disposing them anywhere that is not a safe needle disposal container is against the law and could lead to a fine. Sharps that have been improperly disposed of pose a health and safety risk to the public and to sanitation workers. Sharps and syringes must be disposed of at a needle and syringe disposal drop-off site or through a medical mail-back service.

What should I do if I find a needle on a public way?
If you find a needle on a sidewalk or other public way, please call the Mayor’s Hotline at 3-1-1. Provide the location of the needle(s) with as much detail as possible and the Mobile Sharps Team will locate and collect the waste.

DROP-OFF SITES IN BOSTON

AIDS Action Committee
75 Amory Street
Boston​, MA 02130
617-450-1379

​Boston Health Care for the Homeless
780 Albany Street
Boston, MA 02118
857-654-1641​

​Boston Public Health Commission
35 Northampton Street
Boston, MA 02118
617-534-5395

Project Trust
721 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02118
617-414-4495

Neponset Health Center
398 Neponset Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02122
617-534-5395

​MA Alliance of Portuguese Speakers
1 Stoughton Street
Dorchester, MA 02125
617-825-5897

Walgreens Community Pharmacy
21-23 Stanhope Street
Boston, MA 02116
617-375-7969

​Women of Color AIDS Council
409 Blue Hill Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02121-4309
617-541-1050

​Dimock Community Health Center
55 Dimock Street
Roxbury, MA 02119
617-442-8800

Clifford Park
171 Norfolk Ave
Boston, MA 02119

Orchard Garden Park
Roxbury, MA 02119

​​​
(Link source: http://www.bphc.org/whatwedo/Recovery-Services/services-for-active-users...)

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If users are shooting up at the school, then doesn't that suggest that too many dealers are hanging out near the school?

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I mean, some of the biggest drug dealers are pushing with a prescription pad, pen, and a license from the DEA to distribute --- sorry, prescribe --- highly addictive drugs.

IV drug users are probably drawn to playgrounds after hours for privacy when injecting the drugs they use.

Honestly, the Long Island bridge needs to be rebuilt ASAP.

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Unfortunately, anon is right; illicit opiate users commonly use the drugs as soon as possible after buying them. It's physically difficult for an addict to resist using drugs they have right in their pocket. They use the drugs here because they buy them here.

There's a reason this is a problem in these specific playgrounds in Roxbury, and not on Beacon Hill or in Brookline where even more privacy would be available to a drug user willing to engage in even a minimal amount of forethought: Methadone Mile. Addicts came here for the health services, dealers followed their customers, and now there's a whole ecosystem. This isn't about the general behavior of people seeking privacy to use drugs, or doctors over-prescribing or whatever. This is about Methadone Mile attracting a huge crowd of heroin addicts to a single neighborhood, and the service providers and the city doing next to nothing to mitigate the harm being done to the community.

And this isn't about Long Island, either, unless you're suggesting that the hyper-concentration of treatment services around Newmarket be physically relocated (along with all of their patients) to Long Island if it re-opens.

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uhh, yes it is (in part).

I've spoken to folks who stayed at the Long Island shelter and/or accessed recovery resources and service on the Ol' Shutter Island. ***MY PERSONAL OPINION*** is that said services need to reopen again.

The two shelters in the heart of Methadone Mile (Woods Mullen and Southampton) opened because the Long Island shelter closed.

Even the staff at Boston Health Care for the Homeless (BHCHP) want Long Island reopened.

The amount of opioid overdoses that happen in from of the BHCHP entrance is staggering.

And something else to note about active drug users: many active users deal the very drugs they use to support their habit. So the users are often dealers themselves.

That "Boston Benzo Buzz" episode of "Drugs, Inc." pointed out something really important: active drug users who use opioids often mix drug cocktails to "boost" their high.

That's why (in part) that many of these overdoses are a result of mixed-drug toxicity.

I know U-Hub commenters hate folks who go to Harvard but...BHCHP president Dr. Jim O'Connell wrote a book called "Stories By The Shadows" and gave a talk back in January. He noted the role of mixed-drug cocktails in fatal opioid overdoses, too.

All those "junkies" looking like their about to fall over while doing the "Nodding Off Gangsta Lean?" They've likely mixed heroin/fentanyl with benzodiapines, "Johnnys" and "Finnegans" or whatever the hell they're called.

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