Two years after Boston installed public toilets, police say the city’s five self-cleaning commodes are attracting heroin addicts, who take advantage of their running water and relative privacy to use drugs, the Boston Globe says. Several times, the doors of the Congress Street public toilet have opened to disclose men with needles sticking out of their arms. Police have found people passed out on the floor of the stalls after overdosing on drugs.
Police say addicts, most of whom are middle-aged and homeless, enter the toilets in groups, using the seclusion of the stall to heat water and heroin in a spoon before injecting it.
One officer first noticed the problem last year when three men exited a toilet together, leaving a friend passed out on the floor from a heroin overdose. The officer called an ambulance for the man, who survived.
City officials acknowledge the problem, but they say that the heroin addicts are only a small percentage of the toilets’ users. Since January, the public toilet outside the aquarium was used nearly 12,000 times, and its owners say it is the busiest in the world.