Life and Loss on Methadone Mile
The Woods-Mullen and Southampton Street shelters, for women and men respectively, house hundreds every night, a few blocks apart. The headquarters of Boston Health Care for the Homeless, a 30-year-old program dedicated to the city’s most vulnerable patients, occupies part of the building next to Woods-Mullen. The same building is home to several Boston Public Health programs — among them one that distributes clean needles and another, PAATHS, that helps coordinate services for people making their way through a thicket of acute, residential and outpatient care for drug addiction. In the middle of it all is Boston Medical Center.
In the battle against substance abuse, these are the front lines. For some, access to so many services in such close quarters is a boon. People who live in one of the shelters can make it to therapy groups, see their primary care doctors at BMC, and visit a recovery center without commuting all over the city. And service providers here, many say, show their patients a respect they rarely find elsewhere.