Showing how easy it is to get heroin in South Boston, Jon Stuen-Parker yesterday counted out 150 tiny white bags of the drug and walked down the street to the local police station, the Boston Globe reports. “We’re going to keep bringing it, even if we have to bring a pick-up truck, just to tell them, `This is what’s out there,’ ” said Stuen-Parker, founder of the National AIDS Brigade, who believes the heroin he’s carrying has been cut with chemicals that make it even more lethal.
The Globe says that the march to the police station hit a nerve in a neighborhood that has been gripped by heroin since the mid-1990s. The neighborhood’s heroin problem ranks as one of the worst in the city. Last year, officials at South Boston District Court counted six fatal overdoses. This year, in just five months, they say they have seen an increase.
Commmunity leaders have tried everything from a drug court that pushes treatment, to investigations to catch criminals, to teenage addicts who visit schools to deter future users. Like most neighborhoods, South Boston is also divided over how to attack the heroin problem. Some favor tough-love punishment for addicts; others think the best way to help is to make using the drug safer while they wait for treatment to work.
City Councilor James M. Kelly called for police to investigate Stuen-Parker’s group and to arrest him if they find he is distributing needles or carrying the drug.