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Mass General to create mock-up of a safe-injection site

The Charlestown Patriot-Bridge reports that MGH will create a mock supervised-injection facility at its Charlestown offices next week to show the public what it would be like if a hospital opened a place where opioid users could shoot up under medical supervision.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins recently urged the legislature to enact a bill to allow a pilot program for such facilities, to which US Attorney Andrew Lelling replied with another threat to prosecute anybody involved in actually running one.

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And let crises build over the next generation with the economic burden of HIV, HepC, etc.

Check out what an earlier opioid epidemic did to the baby boomers - HepC is rampant.

Because cheaper ways of preventing disease and getting addicts into contact with health providers DOESN'T GIVE ME THE JUDGEY MORALITY TINGLES!

We are little different from they are - but it is easier to deny that when denying reality.

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Voting closed 8

I have a question. Will the authorities question injectors where they got their heroin or fentanyl or whatever it is they are injecting, or are drug dealers who supply the stuff granted anonymity? Will the injectors have to register (ID, etc.) when they walk in to the safe injection site?

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Voting closed 9

Of the surrounding area when zonked out heroin users are walking around.
Encouraging drug use seems to me to be the opposite of what we should be doing for the addicted.

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Voting closed 55

Leave it to the pros to find a solution

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Voting closed 20

I am more of a pro than most.
Once someone is addicted to heroin it's all that matters to them, encouraging them to continue to use is counterproductive.

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Voting closed 42

Public health works with populations, not individuals.

It also works with data, not datum.

I'm sorry to hear about your sister, but this isn't about your feels. This is about sound policy. Your sister might have made it out of her hell had she used one of these sites, which make contact with users for the purposes of 1) preventing the spread of disease; and 2) getting people into rehab by consistently reinforcing the message that there is a better way to live.

Denying others a chance to get out of hell without permanent HIV or HepC status is what it means to be ignorant, not woke to the realities of addiction.

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Voting closed 20

How are safe injection sites "encouraging" use if they are going to use anyway?

Why not entice addicts into a system where they won't spread HIV and HepC and are given messages about options for not using that they need to hear?

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Voting closed 17

I am very sorry for your loss. But it is better for people to use drugs in a secure location where they can be supported than in private where they can overdose without any hope of assistance.

Either way dangerous drugs will be used, but with a safe injection site there is hope of them getting immediate medical assistance and without an ambulance needing to be dispatched. This is also a step to get the heroin epidemic into public view, too many people are able to ignore it right now.

The safeness of an injection site is not a determinant of whether or not someone uses a drug, a user will always need to use, but it is a determinant of whether or not they continue to live long enough to fight their addiction.

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Voting closed 21

I am very sorry for your loss.

As you & I both know (sadly I also have experience in this area) they are going to use no matter what so keeping them safe, using clean needles and having access to health/mental health/treatment options is better than ignoring it.

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Voting closed 13

Do you believe that heroin users won't use if they don't have safe injection sites? Or that the presence of a safe injection site would somehow cause them to use more?

I don't see it that way, but maybe there's something I'm missing.

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Voting closed 25

Government sanctioned injection sites are just going to attract the homeless drug addicts who already have more problems than just addiction. The majority of heroin addicts are not homeless and looking for a place to shoot up, what sites like these will do in my opinion is attract people to an area where they know the police wont bother them.
Heroin users will use heroin but having the government complicit in the behavior sends the wrong signal. The right thing to do would be to arrest someone for possessing heroin and then they would be in the system where help could be given without their volunteering to recieve it. Unless we plan on legalizing heroin I don't know how condoning it's use makes sense.

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Voting closed 18

I like the idea of a widespread system that can help people (although the not volunteering part of it is a little creepy), but since there is no system like that, grassroots safe injections sites are gonna have to be the runner up solution. Attracting drug addicts sounds like exactly the point, otherwise they wouldn't be very successful! :-)

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Voting closed 7

Unless we plan on legalizing heroin I don't know how condoning it's use makes sense.

On the other hand, criminalizing it hasn't exactly been effective.

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Voting closed 11

Sorry about your sister, but unless she overdosed at a safe injection site, I don't see the connection. These places aren't giving out heroin, and they're not forcing people to go there, they are just providing supervision so that people like your sister don't die from heroin. If it were my sister suffering from addiction, I'd want her near medical professionals as much as possible, even if it increased her chances of survival by a fraction of a percent.

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Voting closed 14

To have observed the 'Pros' F up a lot. They will then either sheepishly (?) admit they were wrong, or not; often eith tragic results.

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Voting closed 6

wrong.

the "experts" are not that expert. Here they're focusing on solving the "micro" problem of poor needle usage, when the "meta" problem of opiod usage is in effect encouraged.

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Voting closed 10

Here they're focusing on solving the "micro" problem of poor needle usage, when the "meta" problem of opiod usage is in effect encouraged.

I can't imagine anyone who is not already an addict, noting the existence of safe injection sites and thinking, "hey, maybe I should try smack!" I just don't buy the argument that safe injection sites encourage heroin use.

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Voting closed 13

Don't worry, we already have that in the South End. People are just injecting in public view on the sidewalk. We need all the help we can to get people off the street. Safe injection sites are one tool to help us reduce crime, improve public health, and get people treatment.

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Voting closed 37

Is it your impression no one in Charlestown is currently doing heroin?

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Voting closed 9

A few weeks ago I was at my local Market Basket. It was around 10am on a Saturday morning.

I am one of the few people left on earth who takes his bottles and cans back to the store for the nickel refund. So I take my bag into one of the bottle collection rooms...

I walk in, and there's some dude in the middle of the room. Had a blanket down and his bag. Then a small pile of stuff.. a needle, a spoon, and a turnic. All that was missing was the bag of heroin.

I walked out and went to the other bottle room.

This is why we need these sites. Heroin users who get fresh batches are watching their friends die. So instead they go to very public places or places that are monitored well and will shoot up there. Why? because if they OD, the hope is someone will see them, call 911 and get narcan to be revived.

By having a safe site, medical personelle are there to assist. No need to waste a civillians or EMS time to go administer narcan. Then if something goes horribly wrong, the hospital is right there. A user will not die because of it.

Please spare my "I lost my sister to heroin", you obviously didn't know her very well. Maybe if she had one of these sites she wouldn't have died from bad smack. Maybe she would have been saved if she was at one of these sites.

I know far too many junkies personally, my town in New Hampshire is overrun now by the heroin epidemic. I can tell you safe injection sites are needed, and frankly, as more and more kids of well-to-do families keep OD'ing.. the momentum will build.

I also see the drug epidemic from the front steps of my house in Chelsea. (I walk over nodded off people on my steps every f'ing day). Maybe if safe places exist, they wouldn't be shooting up on my g-d street at night.

Furthermore, stating it 'promotes drug use'. So what? Maybe its time to change the paradigm from "don't do drugs" to "be safe if you do use". 50 years of the "war on drugs" has proven that it does not work, with other countries such as Portugal and the Netherlands have taken this approach and guess what... less OD, less addiction, and less DEATH.

I'll take less addiction and death, thanks.

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Voting closed 37

Where there are NO safe injection sites

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Voting closed 7

I won't say you are wrong there. However, my point was more "if you are going to use, be safe about it", which is one of the points behind PT. (along with treating addiction as a health issue, not a crime issue)

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Voting closed 8

Dont presume to know my relationship with her.
A safe injection site would not attract a person like her because she had no need for it. People like to think all addicts are homeless and walking the streets and that just isn't true.
People differ on how they think the problem can be solved but dismissing someone's opinion with "spare me" is not productive.

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Voting closed 20

Safe injection sites are a promising alternative to shooting up on the streets or at home, and, as noted, they would likely save lives. And I say this as someone with a sibling who is battling addiction. I'm sorry for your loss, but that doesn't make you an expert any more than I am, which I'm not.

We've spent decades testing the theory that law enforcement is the answer to drug abuse and addiction. It's been a miserable failure, and things are worse now than they've ever been. Time to try something new.

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Voting closed 14

Don't assume anything about your sister. I know alot of drug users... past and present, and I can tell you *family* are the last people to ever know anything. Your sister lived a double life. I don't even need to know her to know that is a fact.

This is how it works with addiction and drug use, part of the addiction is hiding it from people who care about you. Doesnt matter what walk of life they are from, it's almost always the same.

So who knows if she would have gone or not. Only she can tell, and she's not here to tell us. Her answer might have surprised both of us.

Remember this, just because your sister may have not gone to one of these sites, but others might... that might be someone's sister too. And that someone might be grateful that a site exists and their loved one went there and are still alive today because of it.

You want to take that ability to see their sibling alive another day because you feel like "it promotes drug use"? It's time to take a seat, if you do. You're not being compassionate enough.

Just remember, somebody is always someone's daughter or mother or sister, brother or son or father. People seem to forget that all to often, especially when looking at drug addiction and homelessness.

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Voting closed 10

The definition of enabling: give (someone or something) the authority or means to do something.

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Voting closed 6

I'm with you, but I just want to clarify, these places don't give out heroin. It's a critical detail.

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Voting closed 2

The definition of enabling: give (someone or something) the authority or means to do something.

Does Toyota Motor Co. enable bank robberies by providing getaway cars?

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Voting closed 10

Addicts need our help, not scorn.

The purpose of this project is to bring addicts to places where they can be offered treatment and to provide immediate medical assistance in case of an overdose, so that people don't die. This also provides the incredibly important service of safe needle disposal, something that has become a major flashpoint issue in Boston.

The opioid crisis needs new ideas, not rehashed bullshit that has never worked. I think having safe locations like this is good start, but not a total solution. I hope the organizers do a good job with the mock-up and are able to convince people that we can do more to help people with addiction than police action.

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Voting closed 20

But addicts don't exactly rescue themselves. They work with others to get out of the morass, and this requires contact with those who can arrange treatment.

I work downtown. Things got so bad for a time that I started carrying narcan.

A bit over two years ago I noticed someone nod off and collapse and just sprawl on the sidewalk at Summer and Arch. She looked like she was the same color as the sidewalk - a bad sign for circulation. I called 911 and whipped out the Narcan. The ambulance arrived just after she came to. I held her as she woke and kept her calm while the EMTs set up. I handed her off, sent my husband a text that I would be late meeting him, and went on with my life.

About a month ago, someone tapped me on the shoulder near my workplace.

"Remember Me?"

I did, but I wasn't sure because she was healthy - and you don't just say HEY, ARE YOU THAT JUNKIE ...

She identified herself, then thanked me for saving her life.. I was shocked that she recognized me, given how out of it she was.

Her family had no idea what was going on in her life - they got involved. The incident put her in contact with people who could get her into recovery. It wasn't her first OD, but it was her last - and it would absolutely have been her last.

She had a shovel. All she knew was how to shovel. Now she's got a ladder.

Sick people can't find that ladder on their own.

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Voting closed 9

61seveners need to unite on this ya’ll. Too many people are effected by this smack.

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Voting closed 5

A lot of people don't like to inject coke in public because the effects are much different than injecting heroin. Shooting coke will make the person exhibit more unpredictable and possibly bizarre or dangerous behaviors once high. I don't know, I just don't see a public injection site working. However, if Boston gets a public injection site, will we then get to punish the people shooting up in public parks, leaving used needles on playgrounds, etc.???

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Voting closed 4

As it was so aptly put by bostnkid in a previous posting. Andrew Lelling keep up the good work
SAFE INJECTION SITES ARE HOSPICE CARE FOR END STAGE ADDICTION. All people suffering from addiction deserve better, much better

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Voting closed 4

that we now are helping drug addicts inject potentially lethal doses of drugs into themselves? Why does anyone want to help them do drugs? Drugs are illegal. If it were my child doing heroin, I would much rather have him/her locked up in jail away from drugs with the chance of getting (forced) help to get clean than in a safe injection site where people are just watching him/her shoot up and letting him/her go out onto the street to face God knows what. There is a reason there is a war on drugs. Drugs hurt all of us one way or another from neglected children to spreading of diseases to crimes. Just because it's not easy to stop people from doing drugs doesn't mean we should give up and just let people do whatever they want.

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Voting closed 2

I'm, luckily, not directly involved in this issue, but here are my thoughts as an outsider and resident.

There seem to be two issues that people don't like
1. A lot of high need people in one place that causes disruption and discomfort to the environment
2. Extending a privilege to the high need group that is perceived as making the barrier to joining that group lower.

I don't have anything to say about 2.

But 1 is familiar to me. There is a desire to segregate and concentrate high needs people to provide services more efficiently and conveniently. But when you segregate and concentrate people by their challenges and you create a community that is defined by that weakness. Again, I don't actually know anything about addiction, but in other contexts segregation makes it harder to return to the mainstream and it makes it easier to label everyone in that group by their shared challenge and to dismiss them as hopeless. Just a bunch of junkies in this case.

I don't like the idea of one or two big safe injection sites. I'd say NIMBY to that. I would feel differently about 400 small, local safe injection sites. Like if every Minute Clinic and Urgent Care place and Community Health Center in the whole state had to provide a two or three-person supervised site. That way maybe people could get the hoped-for benefit of this sort of place without having to disrupt whatever is working in their lives.

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Voting closed 1

out of pocket over lawsuits when someone OD's at a sight that will be the end of this. We are too much of a sue society to handle this, the responsibility will not be on the person addicted and administering drugs into their body it will be on the ones who let them into the building and then monitor them. Might as well just close the outpatient clinics for treatment as there will be no reason to go to one of those clinics when you can go get high in another.

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Voting closed 2

Why is MGH involved in this? Are they trying to eventually get in the business? Seems like an odd business model.

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Voting closed 6

It's not heroin, it is fentanyl, methadone or suboxone, with clonadine, gabbapentine, promethazine, and a benzo. It's not 1997. It is human trafficking, trap houses, it is being " taken".

There is Harvoni but we have multiple cases of latent Syphalis.

I reason to be reactionary, that's niave. MGH wants to have a study, press a paper, don't be so reactionary and naive. The number counters will bill Mass Health for something .. the addict will get a bus pass back to nowhere.

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Voting closed 1