Boston's Drug Crisis Worsens During the Pandemic

Boston Globe | Craig F. Walker

Society’s most vulnerable populations, those suffering from addiction and the homeless, are being hit harder by the effects of the pandemic than any other population. They are experiencing loss at dramatic rates, yet it seems like there is little being done to help.

Methadone Mile or “Meth Mile” is an area of Boston’s Massachusetts Avenue, near Roxbury and the South End where methadone clinics lie adjacent to an open-air drug market. It has long been an epicenter of Massachusetts’ uncontrolled opioid crisis. A simple drive through this street and one will witness active drug use, homeless encampment, discarded needles, human waste and overall despair. With no social distancing or any COVID related protocol taking place, the lives of these already defenseless citizens are further at-risk.

Amid the pandemic, this area has become increasingly crowded surrounding the methadone clinic. With businesses forced to close their doors, many people were turned away from shelters and treatment facilities, causing an increase in the number of people dwelling there, and in turn, an increase in unsanitary, dangerous and inhumane living conditions.

While the rights and well-being of those suffering from addiction often seem to be forgotten, the city, however, plans to address the current situation at “Meth Mile” by de-centralization of methadone clinics in order spread services out throughout Boston, rather than in one centralized location.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a nationwide increase in drug use and relapse. Loss of a steady income, housing, or access to healthcare in addition to amplified stress, have been triggers to an already marginalized population.

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