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The Infrastructure of the Opioid Epidemic

On Boston’s “Methadone Mile,” the city’s opioid users cluster around a few-block-stretch, where they find some support, and a sweeping range of treatment services. They are also out of sight of the rest of the city.
 Gwendel Wilson often sleeps on a dusty strip of grass on "Methadone Mile." "They have everything right here," he says.
Gwendel Wilson often sleeps on a dusty strip of grass on "Methadone Mile." "They have everything right here," he says.Susan Zalkind

BOSTON—Michael Young, 40, stands on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard. On his left, cars whir past; on his right, about two dozen people line up along the chain link fence overlooking Boston’s Interstate 93, some drifting in and out of consciousness, others plotting their next high.

Within a two-block radius of this street corner is the Boston Medical Center, homeless shelters, numerous methadone and suboxone clinics, and an open air drug market. “They have everything right here,” says Gwendel Wilson, 54, with his arms stretched. Wilson, along with Young, sleeps on this dusty strip of grass some nights. “It’s all condensed.”