Statement Regarding the Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard Corridor

The Newmarket Square area is a painful reminder of the opioid crisis’ devastating impacts on our city, state and region. It is the product of years of disgraceful overprescribing, and not enough funding or health insurance coverage for treatment and aftercare. There is now a concentration of vulnerable people without access to employment, housing, or healthcare who are continually victimized by our lack of a holistic response. Known locally as “Methadone Mile”, the area has become a dumping ground for the underlying problems of an entire region. This comes at the cost of public safety and quality of life for everyone who lives, works, attends school, or passes through the area. The need for a recovery campus has never been more evident. 

The ravages of the opioid epidemic have touched nearly all of our lives, whether personally or through a friend or loved one. It is a public health crisis of massive proportions, and the response to it must be a multifaceted effort that incorporates our partners at the federal, state and municipal level, as well as our public health officials, experts in recovery services, law enforcement and the community at large. There is no simple solution to this epidemic. We cannot accept a response that attempts to hide these issues by moving those affected out of sight and into other neighborhoods. We also cannot stand by and allow this population to grow and be clustered and ignored over at Methadone Mile; not only is it inhumane, it is also ineffective. As a city, we can always do better to reach out to those who are most in need of our help.

It is important to remember both the humanity and dignity of the members of our community who are experiencing substance abuse, mental health issues, and homelessness as well as the daily experiences of residents, businesses, and the directly neighboring children and families. 
The City of Boston, through both the Boston Public Health Commission and our partnerships with organizations throughout the metropolitan area, offers a number of services available to those experiencing homelessness or a substance use disorder.

Resources: 

https://www.bphc.org/whatwedo/homelessness/homeless-services/Pages/Homeless-Services.aspx

https://www.bphc.org/whatwedo/Recovery-Services/Pages/RecoveryServices.aspx

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