Meeting focuses on issues with 'Methadone Mile' in Boston's South End

BOSTON — It didn’t take long for passion and differences of opinion to erupt in a meeting to address 'Methadone Mile' in the city's South End.

So many people showed up that it had to been moved outside the South End Branch of Boston Public Library, where the city and police took a lot of heat and tried to answer a lot of questions in the face of a fired-up crowd.

The line winded out the front door of the Boston Public Library.

"Some of these people are absolutely nuts. They’re violent," one local landlord said. "They're dangerous. The focus should be how to protect people."

Tensions reached a boiling point moments after the overflowing meeting moved outside.

"It is not the police’s job to solve the opioid crisis and the homelessness problem that is on the City of Boston," said Jonathan Alves, who lives in the South End.

Neighbors say they’ve been crying for help for years about safety concerns connected to the homeless shelters and methadone clinics here.

They're questioning why authorities just now seem to be cracking down, after House of Corrections officer was attacked on his way to work.

"I’ve had to Narcan three different people outside my window," said South End resident Christine Gillespie.

Marty Martinez, chief of Boston Health and Human Services, said city officials are addressing the issue.

"Over the part five years that mayor has been in administration, we have devoted more resources to intervention, substance use prevention treatment and care that’s ever been spent by City of Boston," Martinez said.

As we traveled around the community that describes itself as under siege, there was story after story complaints from those dealing with it and insight on those trying to get help.

"Most of us are just trying to hang on," said Matt Sullivan, who is staying at a homeless shelter.

“People won't hire me for one reason, my age: I’m 72 years old," said Sullivan.

Residents said they're concerned about overdose deaths.

The special advisor to Mayor Marty Walsh disputes accusations that people who need help are being harassed and forced out of shelters, after last week’s attack on a corrections officer.

He says ramped up patrols will continue until further notice, and that anyone breaking the law in public will be handled accordingly.