Methadone Mile extends to Andrew Square

Needles and drugs

A few days ago, Brianne Fitzgerald photographed the drug detritus along a walk from the Andrew T stop to the Boston Comprehensive Drug Treatment Center, about three-quarters of a mile away on Topeka Street. She writes:

The original concept of harm reduction originated during the HIV epidemic when advocates agitated for access to clean needles and syringes in order to slow and prevent the spread of communicable blood borne diseases. During those years there was always the implicit understanding that drugs hurt individuals, families and communities. The primary focus during those years was the reduce the number of new drug users and help people hung up on drugs get off and to recover their lives through treatment. Today it appears that we have done a complete 180. Has the harm reduction movement become the foundation of current drug policy in Massachusetts?

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Comments

This is what happens when the

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This is what happens when the City Council is too busy focusing on suntan lotion dispensers and national political distractions the council has no influence over instead of focusing on nuts & bolts local quality of life issues. They waste time on silly publicity stunts because dealing with real issues is difficult and often unpleasant.

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Voting is closed. 30

The Methadone Mile begins at Andrew station!

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Every day heroin users make the daily pilgrimage from the Quincy stations to Andrew station. They either buy their drugs at the station or saunter over to Newmarket station to get their fix. Needles are everywhere along the route.

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Nothing New

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Andrew Square's been a junkie mess for a while now... problem is it's the closest commercial hub to the Old Harbor & Old Colony housing projects, so it'll be very difficult to clean up the area entirely, as long as the heavy drug use in those projects continues.

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Voting is closed. 41

"junkie" mess

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Heavy drug use is not just in the projects -- that is not the problem. Calling people with substance-use disorder a "junkie" is a problem. This area was a bit of a mess before Long Island closed down; it became a greater mess after the close down. The biggest problem of all is the gaps in treatment due to the lack of available beds -- especially for women -- and the lack of effective evidence-based treatment that provides at least 90 days without gaps. Corruption all across the spectrum of services is a problem. While there are good people doing great work, they are often hindered with insurance restrictions and more. The state has no immediate plans to increase beds. There is no national protocol to combat the overdose epidemic. Insurance told my niece that going in and out of detox and into a day program was working for her! No, it wasn't. And it didn't. She died, a week after trying to get a bed. When we call a human being a junkie, we take away their value as a human being and diminish understanding the very real brain hijacking that happens with opiate addiction. In my opinion, the substance-use disordered individuals in the Boston area are due a huge apology from those in power and, most especially, from Purdue Pharma -- who should pay for the quality long-term care that is needed.

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Voting is closed. 32

Heavy drug use in the projects

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Right.

Because projects = heavy drug use.

Of course.

Ever occur to you that much of this has little to do with projects and far more to do the simultaneously "empty" and "accessible" nature of the area?

Of course not.

One need only look at who lives there versus who is doing drugs to figure that out.

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Back in the early 90's they

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Back in the early 90's they used to give red plastic biohazard disposal containers at the needle exchange program. I don't ever remember seeing the biohazards like this shit just carelessly thrown on on Earth's ground back then like I do now. Then again, we used it to shoot coke back then which doesn't make you nod out and drop all your shit on the ground like heroin does. Doesn't this apply to the Hazmat Laws? It should. Someone's toddler will pick it up and eat it. Or someone's dog will. Summer in Boston people, and ya'll better not go barefoot!!!!

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It's not just drug paraphernalia

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Southie as a whole but that area specifically is always garbage strewn. Nips, scratchies, dunkies cups, last weeks
recycling, etc

The street cleaner then flies down the street the day after trash pickup and it just tosses everything in the air and all over the sidewalks.

Can't wait for Washington Village.

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Voting is closed. 37

People today

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Do not own a broom (or shovel as you can see in the winter) so they don't bother cleaning in front of their house like everyone used to do. Today they expect the City or their condo association to do it. They pay, or underpay, people to come once a week to clean inside their residences. So don't expect anything different when it comes to the sidewalks or gutters.

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The Addict Presence at South Bay Center

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seems to be on the uptick. Which would make sense. If I was an addict and it was 8pm, and I had a choice of hanging/panhandling in the streets and alleys of Newmarket Square or at Target, I would definitely go for Door #2.

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Southampton Street aka the

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Southampton Street aka the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, the Miracle Mile and the Methadone Mile.

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Someday...

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... a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.

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uhhhhhh are explicitly

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uhhhhhh are explicitly fascist comments usually allowed on u-hub???

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You talkin' to me? You talkin

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You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? OK.

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Calm down.

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It’s a quote from ‘Taxi Driver.’ But feel free to go barefoot around Methadone Mile if you’re more bothered by words than literal scum leaving pieces of literal scum all over town.

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Not scum.

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Not scum.

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Harm reduction for whom? The

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Harm reduction for whom? The people in the neighborhood who have to clean up after these "unfortunate" blameless addicts. It's a desease you know. A desease that causes needles and trash to be strewn about for kids and bystanders.

Why bother posting these stories, nothing is going to be done about it. Boston will continue to pay lip service to solving this problem, all the while trash and bodies continue to pile up and we the people clean up afterwards.

Yes I have compassion, it's saved for the kids who get stuck with needles and walk through trash every day.

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Isn't that what a needle

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Isn't that what a needle exchange is suppose to help mitigate?

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Because

Why bother posting these stories

Because now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Adoi.

My brother works in the Andrew Sq Dunks. I might get him some steel toed boots for his birthday now.

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He may need them

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When the guy with the giant swastika back tattoo goes further off the rails.

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Safe Injection Site When?

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yeah yeah blah blah encouraging it blah blah removing consequences my tax money to junkies etc

at least there'd be a staff person cleaning this crap up.

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My wife and I bring our dogs

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My wife and I bring our dogs to Red Dog Spa on Southampton for boarding and training, and every time we go down there it gets worse. Two weeks ago we saw people openly shooting up and dealing at the corner of Southampton/Melnea Cass/Mass Ave not 200 feet away from cops who were doing nothing in response. This was probably around 2 PM. I joked that it seemed like the cops were actually just hoping the junkies would just all OD... but the more i reflect on it, the less it seems to be a joke and actually be the reality.

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...the cops were actually just hoping the junkies would just all

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WOW. It is very nice you can bring your dog to a boarding and training school, but how unfortunate it must be to have to see the pain and suffering of these "junkies" on your way. I realize you are making an observation and I am being sarcastic, but please understand, next time you see that, why don't you ask the cops to do something if they are just standing there? These "junkies" are human beings with a progressive disease who have little access to long-term effective evidence-based addiction medicine. None of this is a joke.

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it has been my experience

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it has been my experience that cops don't like when you point out that they are part of the problem...

and while i agree that these people need help, the help the police tend to provide (ie - Jail) doesn't actually solve the problems as the war on drugs has shown.

and what i didn't say earlier is that my wife was documenting what we saw on her phone and sent it to every elected official she could because this is a public policy and health policy issue that won't be fixed by having some lazy boston cop arresting every doped up person between the south end and quincy. mayor MAHHTY and ding dong baker need to step the fuck up, as do every state, municipal and federal representative we have.

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I'm glad your wife did that!

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I'm glad your wife did that! I agree cops don't like it, but I think they need to be called out for it. I have a big disagreement with the cops over how they treated my niece's death. Thanks for clearing up, and thank your wife for sending the photos out -- in my experience, they just ignore them, but maybe if enough did it, they might start moving and giving a you know what!

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No one...

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... forced a needle into your niece’s arm. I’m sorry for your loss - I’ve experienced drug addiction and death with both family and friends - but everyone knows how the heroin story ends. It’s a choice, not a disease. And cleaning up after oneself is a matter of common decency, junkie or not.

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Aww, aren't you sweet

Fabulously ignorant and yet soooo willing to turn a medical issue into a moral issue to feel better about his own sad ass.

Please let us know what your medical credentials are that enable you to support these statements you make with actual reality and facts.. I'm a PhD epidemiologist, and while I don't specialize in addiction epidemiology, I know how to read and evaluate scientific evidence.

That's why I know that you are an ignorant judgy sack of shit.

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And...

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... you’re a blowhard attention-seeker who resorts to name-calling when your own ignorance blinds the reality beyond your bicycle paths, private schools and white picket fence. Do you have, or rather, have you lost a family member or close friend to heroin addiction? Have you volunteered your time or home to assist addicts? Step down from your gilded throne and spend time in the real world, you lilywhite, entitled, “judgy” sack of shit.

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Dear Hateful Judgemental and Clueless Ignorant Troll:

Go fuck yourself with a dirty needle, or just break your key board reaching for the cheetoes. Either way, shut the fuck up about things that you have no clue about.

Bike path reality? Oh honey, you are a freaking idiot. Do you fucking carry narcan in your purse? Have you had to use it in your walk to lunch or to and from work? Of course not. That wouldn't be Special ignorant hateful troll god's will!

Did you grow up in a drug infested recessionized trailer park watching your struggling neighbors and relatives succumb to a spiral of poverty-borne doom? I fucking doubt it, petunia.

Some people see suffering and pronounce themselves as SPESHUL AND RIGHTIOUS and all that judgeyfuuckhead stuff. Speshulmoralites are just dumb chumps waiting for their turn, only they don't know that. They don't want to solve problems because how else would they feel all speshulmoral???

Others of us look for answers using reality, facts and data - knowing damn well that our turn may come if we can't figure out how to spring the trap.

Go either read something like a book and learn something useful, or just go to hell for you completely ignorant moralizing damnations. You aren't special - you are just lucky and stupid.

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Wow...

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... what an extensive vocabulary. You must be only as half as intelligent as you claim to be, or still live in that trailer park.

I’ve been reading this site for years. Along with the rest of the long-time readers of UHub, we all know you’re an expert in everything so I won’t waste my time responding to a slab-headed, know-it-all such as yourself.

Enjoy your miserable life wagging your fingers and clutching your pearls. Please be sure to drum up some big, fat crocodile tears when you host your next craft beer tasting and tell your privileged, similarly annoying guests about the horrors you witnessed on Southampton Street after you and the family took a wrong turn on your tandem bicycles, you classless, boring slob.

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It's a choice ...

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Your choice is to be ignorant of reality. I highly doubt that you are sorry for my loss. You have no idea what the addiction experience is like or how navigating through the health-care system with insurance that calls the shots and not the doctors is extremely detrimental to those afflicted. I think you need to clean up your thoughts, because you are part of the problem with your attitude. Addiction IS a brain disease. Opiates alter the brain chemistry. Get a clue and some common decency. You don't know my niece or what her struggles and experiences were, and if you did know my niece, perhaps you might show some respect. I'm not really even sure why you commented here. To put out your moral judgement? Right back at you. Clean up yourself!

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Of course...

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... I sympathize with your loss. I know precisely what you are feeling, seven fold (two cousins, five friends), due to drug overdoses or suicide at the throes of addiction. Each as preventable as the last. That’s not to mention countless former classmates, teammates, and people within my circle who have struggled with, died from, or thankfully beat opiates.

I understand completely the fault of doctors oversprescribing painkillers, misdiagnosing injuries and selling prescription drugs illegally. Neither of which is an automatic death sentence, nor what is pictured above.

Fact is, addiction is a choice, as is the very difficult choice to pursue help. While I am in no position to chastise or toss out “moral judgement” - that would make me a hypocrite - I have been deeply and repeatedly affected by opiate addiction. Please don’t assume that you know me and the hell I've also been through.

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You are right --- I should

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You are right --- I should not assume I know anything about your experiences with the disease of addiction. I am sorry you have had so many losses -- far too many.

I wonder if you have experienced the steps to treatment with an individual, living daily with the struggles toward it. I've witnessed theses things over the years, and know firsthand the extreme reality of being turned away from treatment time and again because of insurance denials. The gaps in treatment kills.

I continue to object to the term "junkie" because it continues the stigma and dehumanizes the individual. A person with substance-use disorder will never care about picking up their trash.

We need all hands on deck to fight this overdose epidemic. I have no fight with you, I just want to understand the mindset that continues to believe that addiction to opiates is a choice when science reveals otherwise.

Here's to freedom from hell. Peace to you and yours.

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Common decency

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Addiction is a disease, not a choice. Moral judgements are part of the problem with getting effective resources for those with substance-use disorder.

And actually, how do you know what brought my niece to opiates, and to heroin? It was a doctor, like many others who have died from this overdose epidemic. And, how do you know she wasn't killed by someone? You see there are many stories, each with a human being attached. Nobody chooses to be addicted to these drugs. Please read about the brain chemistry of addiction if you care to learn something new about this devastating problem in our communities and across the nation. 157 die daily in this nation; 6 a day in Massachusetts.

Calling someone a junkie? That is part of the problem. And realistically, a person under the influence of opiates is not going to care about picking up any litter.

Common decency involves respect for a situation and compassion for your fellow humans.

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Did you feel this way...

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Before your niece became addicted? When it predominantly affected the black and brown communities?

Do you also feel this way about the more stigmatized drugs like crack (which let's remember was systematically inserted into communities of color for the purpose of creating addiction and decimation of those communities)?

I know your first comment is let's not make this a race issue, but addiction is definitely in that realm since now that the faces of it are mainly white middle class folks, it's suddenly not a moral failing and they're not "junkies". I feel for your niece but your empathy would've also been great in the 80s and 90s when I was a child dealing with a heroin addicted parent. I find that at that time...the feeling (from the now afflicted communities) about addiction wasn't so empathetic.

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Add the FENWAY to that

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The needles, unhoused drug addicted, and organized dealers on bikes AYeeTahave extended to the Victory Gardens, Boylston and Park Drive. With epidemic and criminal proportion.

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As someone who walks in that

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As someone who walks in that area frequently: The litter doesn't bother me, and the addicts are generally polite and non-harassing — it's the smell that gets me every time.

There are certain streets near the shelter that seem to be used as public bathrooms, and that stench, perhaps mixed with smells emanating from warehouses in the area, is truly nauseating. Especially on hot and humid days when the air is thick and the wind non-existent.

I wish there was a way to provide safe restroom facilities for the people that congregate in that area. Right now it seems like the default option is to pop a squat between parked cars or piss on certain buildings, where the waste then festers until the next time it rains.

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