The “medical observation and monitoring services” plan was inspired by the Supportive Place for Observation and Treatment, or SPOT, at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, according to the state’s request for proposals.
Since 2016, the SPOT program has provided a room where people intoxicated with heroin or other substances can get medical attention. Typically these are people who have injected heroin and then “layered on” other sedating drugs taken by mouth, causing their heart rate and blood pressure to plummet. Sometimes they are carried in by friends.
But Gaeta, who has written passionately about the need for safe consumption sites, says the monitoring centers cannot play the same role. Fentanyl overdoses happen within minutes. Often victims are found with the needle still in their arm.
“I know SPOT has saved lives but it’s not really a substitute for supervised consumption sites, because of fentanyl,” Gaeta said.