As Coronavirus continues to seemingly paralyze many industries throughout the Greater Boston Area, one area of the City is thriving, seemingly unaffected.
The area of Methadone Mile, or as the City calls it “Mass & Cass” in attempts to downplay the stigma, is a bustling open-air drug market, seemingly immune to social distancing, masks, and even common laws.
Drug dealing, prostitution, assaults, car-jackings and other activities can be seen daily throughout the area from the early hours in the morning until late at night. Lately it had gotten so bad that residents of the area have began to sell their property and uproot their entire lives to escape.
The city and Mayor Walsh have been attempting to address these concerns in their “Mass & Cass 2.0 Plan” however critics who have taken to calling the area “Marty’s Mile” are skeptical. Just recently a woman who was a well known ‘resident’ of the Mile was arrested after viciously murdering a man by stabbing him to death, one of many stabbings in the area. This was believed to be the second person she stabbed just that week.
Recently Walsh and The Boston Public Health Commission created “Comfort Stations” in hopes of giving ”residents” of Methadone Mile a safe place to congregate. However the plan spectacularly backfired as these cages turned into hotspots of violence and drug use. Most noticeably the pen outside of the Woods-Mullen Shelter on Mass Ave that spill into the road, often times blocking complete lanes of traffic.
The center of many complaints, this “play-pen” is flooded with people openly shooting up, overdosing, assaulting each other and more. Police cameras in the area have continually been damaged by dealers, and officers have been hesitant to enforce order due to the lack of support from both City Leaders and the District Attorney’s Office. Also fear of retribution hinders Police enforcement, historically advocates and legal-aid lawyers have sued officers and the department when they have attempted to bring law and order to the chaos of the area.
At the end of August Boston Police, State Police and Boston Public Health Police had to use pepper spray and other less-lethal tools to break up a 60 person brawl in the area. Officers are also now being paid overtime to spend hours on end sitting in the area incase something is to happen due to the volatile nature of the area.
Daily, Boston EMS can been seen responding to calls for overdoses, “man-down”, cardiac arrests and other calls of that nature related to the area “residents” drug use and homeless lifestyle. Additional staffing had become a necessity due to the high call volume causing the department to dedicate a fly car, known as Squad 80, to the area. Recently Boston Fire also added new rapid response vehicles. The Medical Response Area pilot program added “Delta 21”, a car staffed with two first responders/recovery coaches that responds to certain incident calls in the Mass & Cass area three days a week.
The Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association or ‘WSANA’ recently called Marty Walsh’s “2.0 Plan” a total and complete failure, with multiple empty promises still not met, and what residents call a “sketchy” move that turned the Roundhouse Hotel into an additional homeless shelter overnight without alerting any neighborhood groups or members or asking for their input. Mike Nelson, a WSANA resident and member of the City’s 2.0 Task Force said earlier last month, “The current situation is not progress, not even some, but it represents failure in every sense. We might be working as hard as we can, but it isn’t working. Go to the intersection of Mass and Cass and that’s what failure looks like…I speak for residents of WSANA. This intersection is a major gateway to the City for people coming from the south and this is what greets them. It doesn’t look like a world-class city.”
With no clear solution, many are asking when will the city stop pandering and take action. The lip service of ‘decentralization’ and other “solutions” have gone unfulfilled, and it is time that all residents of Boston hold Marty Walsh, the Boston City Council and the Boston Public Health Commission accountable for their failures. With residents having continued issues of everything from panhandling to muggings to even homeless people defecating on their front steps, the demands for action can no longer be ignored.
The dangerous, hazardous, inhuman conditions of this area is a blemish on the city, specifically it’s Leaders, The City Council and the Public Health Commission with no end in sight. Change is needed. Drastic steps must be taken to eradicate theses issues. Something must be done, and quickly.