BOSTON — Roxbury and South End neighbors united on Thursday in their crusade to demand changes to the area known as ‘Methadone Mile’.
A protest, attended by more than 100 people, brought people from different communities together.
Boston Police moved in to block off portions of Mass Ave and Washington Street after demonstrators protested in the middle of the busy intersection.
Neighbors describe their issues worsening during the pandemic, and they feel it hasn’t been properly addressed by city and state leaders.
“For the first time since I’ve been a South End resident, we’ve started to bridge the gap between the South End and Roxbury over a common issue,” said South End community activist Johnathan Alves. “It’s out of control. It’s inhumane.”
Demonstrators said they haven’t heard anything from city or state leaders that indicates a solution is on the horizon.
They also expressed concern for the growing population of homeless people and drug users who have congregated in the area in recent months.
“COVID-19 is elevating what we have been seeing for so long,” said event organizer Yahaira Lopez. “People who live here are seeing this every day, all day.”
The event, “Make the Community Comfortable For All”, wrapped up with renewed momentum on a push for change.
The South End-Roxbury Community Partnership, a new group that organized Thursday’s event, has laid out the following demands for city and state leaders:
- Governor Baker to execute his executive power to intervene and treat the opioid crisis as a prevalent and pervasive Public Health Emergency across the state of Massachusetts
- Meet with the Governor and state officials to discuss the opioid crisis and the South End Roxbury Community Partnership demands
- Execute a moratorium on new services in the South End and Roxbury, and beds in the Roundhouse Inn
- Draft and present a 30-60-90 day plan to the South End Roxbury Community Partnership
- Disperse services: The state needs to create and fund homelessness/addiction services across Massachusetts now.
- Convert the Shattuck Hospital in JP into a temporary emergency recovery center with NEW supportive housing
- Develop a public awareness campaign to educate and inform cities and towns about the opioid crisis
- Public Service Announcement, ads, and brochures
- Mayor Walsh to execute his executive power to intervene and treat the opioid crisis as a prevalent and pervasive Public Health Emergency in the city of Boston
- Mayor Walsh, city and elected officials to discuss the opioid crisis and the South End Roxbury Community Partnership demands
- Ensure the Boston homeless/addiction population receives their needed services
- Develop a public awareness campaign to educate and inform Boston residents about the opioid crisis
- Provide a surge of sanitation and public health services to neutralize and keep the South End and Roxbury clean from the effects of the public health crisis
- Improve safety and reduce crime in the Methadone Mile area and other impacted areas
- Bring back regular Bike patrols from B2, C6, & D4 unit
- Monitored porta-potties in and around comfort stations
- Increased number of needle exchange kiosks (BMC/AHOPE doesn’t currently disclose how many are available or where they are located)
- BMC/AHOPE to disclose # of and the location of needle exchange kiosks
- Increase funding for local police patrol units
- Rebuild and reopen the Long Island Bridge and the Recovery Center
- Create an alternative in another section of the state to the movement of Shattuck services to the South End.
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