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Synthetic Substances: What is K2 & Why is it Dangerous?

Beginning Tuesday afternoon, people in New Haven, Conn. began exhibiting overdose symptoms  in large numbers. By Wednesday at least 70 people overdosed. By Friday, that number reached almost 90. The cause was the inhalation of a substance known as ‘K2,’ or ‘Spice,’ which may have also been laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl. So what is K2 and why is it dangerous?

What is K2?

K2 is a strain of synthetic marijuana that can be bought and sold at convenience stores, depending on location. Though synthetic marijuana varies from producer to producer, it is essentially dried leaves sprayed with chemicals that affect cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

According to Dr. Kathryn Hawk, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, synthetic marijuana like K2 are often “made in these kind of clandestine laboratories that are predominantly overseas… But they don’t represent, in any way shape or form, something that is kind of diverted from a pharmaceutical company or anything along those lines.”

Why is K2 Dangerous?

What is scary about synthetic marijuana is that nobody really knows what it is produced with. It can be laced with other, sometimes more powerful substances like fentanyl, which was suspected in the New Haven case. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid so powerful it is estimated to be between 25-50 times stronger than heroin, and 50-100 times stronger than morphine.

People tend to think that because a substance like K2 is referred to as “synthetic marijuana,” it has the same effects as actual marijuana but that is not true. As noted by the Drug Policy Alliance, negative side effects of synthetic marijuana can include nausea and vomiting, seizures, aggression and agitation, respiratory failure, and loss of consciousness.

Emergency room visits and calls to poison control centers peaked in the early 2010s, but the accessibility of synthetic marijuana makes it a continuous issue. In some cases, users have died of complications.

Is K2 legal?

Generally, K2 and other synthetic marijuana strains are illegal. In 2012, President Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, labeling multiple types of the substance a Schedule I drug. Nearly every single state has its own laws, too, though they vary in scope. Synthetic marijuana manufacturers have found ways to circumvent these laws by slightly altering the chemical formulas found in their synthetic products.

In Massachusetts, the law against synthetic drugs is punishable by a $200 fine, six-month prison sentence, or both.

The Massachusetts law states:

“No person shall intentionally smell or inhale the fumes of any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors, for the purpose of causing a condition of intoxication, euphoria, excitement, exhilaration, stupefaction, or dulled senses or nervous system, nor possess, buy or sell any such substance for the purpose of violating or aiding another to violate this section.”

Some states have also proposed strengthening the laws they already have on the books; for some, the crime outweighs the punishment.


Because synthetic marijuana does not contain THC, the cannabinoid agent active in marijuana, K2 does not show up in toxicology results. This makeS it difficult for healthcare providers and emergency response teams to determine patterns for who uses them and which ones they use.

In New Haven, public health officials administered the overdose reversal drug Naloxone, commonly known as narcan. According to the Washington Post, at least 50 doses were given out. Some did not initially respond to the narcan and had to be given higher concentrations at the hospital.

Some people who experienced overdose symptoms were treated only to return to the New Haven Green, take more of the K2, and need narcan treatment again.

Luckily, none of the New Haven victims died.

Image via Public Domain/ Courtesy of the DEA
By |August 17th, 2018|Events, News|Comments Off on Synthetic Substances: What is K2 & Why is it Dangerous?

Overdose Death Data Show Spike in Fentanyl Use in Massachusetts & Nationwide [Report]

In 2017, as many as 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses caused by opioids. The statistics were compiled and published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday afternoon. The CDC overdose death data represent a 6.6% increase from 2016 nationally. In Massachusetts, though, overdose deaths decreased in the past year.

It is suggested that the increased use and potency of fentanyl is a major factor behind the rise of overdose deaths. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid so powerful it is estimated to be between 25-50 times stronger than heroin, and 50-100 times stronger than morphine.

Across the U.S., overdose deaths caused by synthetic opioids spiked from approximately 21,000 in January 2017 to more than 29,000 in January 2018. Massachusetts is experiencing a similar trend. Fentanyl overdose deaths are on the rise. Between 2014-2017, fentanyl-related overdose deaths doubled.

Also in that same time span, general opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts more than doubled among Hispanics–a rate higher than any other demographic in the state.

In New Haven, Conn. beginning Tuesday evening more than 70 people overdosed after using a synthetic marijuana called K2 or Spice. At least 35 people were treated for overdoses on Wednesday. No fatalities were reported. It is possible the drug was laced with powerful opioids, no excluding fentanyl.

While heroin-related overdose deaths showed signs of decline nationwide and in Massachusetts, cocaine-related deaths rose in both cases.

Specifically in Massachusetts, overdose deaths with cocaine and fentanyl present have risen sharply since 2015. This figure represents polysubstance use, meaning the illicit use of either substances, or cocaine with fentanyl present, hinting at the possibility of cocaine laced with fentanyl.

The data showed minority populations (i.e., Hispanics and Black, non-Hispanics) already at higher risk of experiencing opioid-related overdose, and the recent rise over the past few years was more prominent among these populations.

The Gándara Center provides a variety of addiction treatment services to those in need, from long-term residential recovery to peer-to-peer support groups. We serve more than 10,000 people from all backgrounds per year at 45 locations across the state.

By |August 16th, 2018|News|Comments Off on Overdose Death Data Show Spike in Fentanyl Use in Massachusetts & Nationwide [Report]

Transgender Governor Candidate Helps Focus Attention on LGBTQI+ Substance Use & Mental Health

On Monday, Christine Hallquist won Vermont’s Democratic Primary in the contest to become the state’s next governor. In a state where the governorship has passed back and forth from Democratic to Republican hands on an every-other-person basis since the 1960s, a Democratic Primary victory typically does not make news. But this year is different. Christine Hallquist is the first transgender governor candidate nominated by a major party.

Hallquist’s victory is an historic step towards the normalization of people who identify as LGBTQI+ as legitimate holders of public office. Just as significant, Hallquist’s win helps to reposition the spotlight on the substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental health issues plaguing the LGBTQI+ community at rates higher and more harmful than people who identify as heterosexual.

For too long the LGBTQI+ community has been marginalized, stigmatized, and prejudiced against when it comes to SUDs and mental health. They suffer the many of the same addiction and treatment problems facing heterosexuals; because of longstanding—albeit, fading—biases, they are more likely to experience SUDs, suicidal tendencies, discrimination, and disparate care.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), LGBTQI+ individuals are “3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder.” This is largely due to the pressures of coming out and the fear of being rejected not only by loved ones but by the community at large, which can lead to anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use, and suicide.

A 2016 study supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found LGBTQI+ community members were more likely to use illicit drugs in the past year, to be current cigarette smokers, and to be current alcohol drinkers compared to heterosexuals.

LGBTQI+ and Heterosexual percent using illicit drugs

Non-heterosexuals are at an increased risk of experiencing discrimination within a number of community institutions. The Center for American Progress found that 43 percent of gay and 90 percent of transgender people have experienced workplace discrimination and harassment. Nearly 60 percent of gay and 70 percent of transgender people have experienced housing discrimination, including being denied affordable housing. Gay adults are about twice as likely to be without health insurance, making their healthcare less accessible and more expensive.

Race and ethnicity also weigh heavily on LGBTQI+ people. Those who identify as Hispanic face an additional burden because, according to a 2017 study published in American Journal of Men’s Health, “it is feared they will display effeminate behaviors, violating traditional codes of masculinity.” They are pressured to conform to rigid gender roles and when they fail to do so, they face higher rates of family rejection. This can lead to depression and in their despair gay Hispanic men are more likely to engage in sexual practices with high-risk exposure to HIV.

There are a number of measures we can take to ensure the safety and good health of the LGBTQI+ community. We must acknowledge that their sexual orientation and preferences do not define them and should have no impact on their basic human rights, including access to health services, housing, and fair employment practices.

We must also put into place effective treatment infrastructure for those in need. This includes opening and properly staffing facilities, residential homes, and clinics; implementing community programs to educate and inform the general public; and advocating at the local, state, and federal government levels. All of this will lead to reducing stigmas, but we must take care to do this in both the long-term and the short-term.

Christine Hallquist’s primary win is incredibly important to the LGBTQI+ community not only because it advances the cause in terms of political trajectory, but because it helps emphasize that this community is composed of people with more incidents of SUDS than heterosexuals but are receiving less care.

The Gándara Center fully recognizes the rights and needs of the LGBTQI+ community. Our youth residential programs have the capacity to, and are operated by staff trained to, engage and support this population.

By |August 15th, 2018|Events, News, Politics|Comments Off on Transgender Governor Candidate Helps Focus Attention on LGBTQI+ Substance Use & Mental Health

Minorities in These Jobs are More Likely to Suffer Opioid Overdose Deaths [Report]

Residents with physical labor jobs in Massachusetts are more susceptible to substance use, opioid addiction, and fatal overdose. A study published by the Department of Public Health examines opioid-related overdose deaths by industry and occupation from 2011 to 2015. It found that construction workers; farm, fishing, and forest workers; and transportation and warehouse workers have the highest rate of overdose death.

The data included in the study indicate that opioids pose the greatest threat to Hispanics working in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations; followed by service occupations. Of Hispanics working in natural resources, construction, and maintenance, there were 76 (or 26%) fatal overdoses recorded, and in service occupations there were 66 (or 22.6%) overdoses recorded. For Black, non-Hispanics in service occupations, there were 51 (or 32.1%) recorded fatal overdoses.

Opioid-related Overdose Deaths by Industry

Data via Department of Public Health

Data via Department of Public Health

When we look at the data from a perspective of income, the risk for Hispanics and Black, non-Hispanics is clearer. The median income ranges with the highest overdose rate was $40,000–$49,999 followed by $20,000–$29,999 and <$20,000.

According to the U.S. Census American Community Survey, in 2010 the per capita income for Hispanics in Massachusetts was $15,098; in 2014 is jumped slightly to $16,889. For Black, non-Hispanics during those same time periods, the per capita income was $19,554 and $21,725.

This means Hispanics and Black, non-Hispanics are susceptible to opioid-related overdoses, even if they aren’t in service or natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations. Without more access to educational services and opportunities to rise through income levels and tax brackets, Hispanics and Black, non-Hispanics will continue to be at high risk.

Image via Department of Public Health

Image via Department of Public Health


It may come as no surprise that these vulnerable industries and jobs are ones in which workers have high rates of work-related injuries and illness, lower availability of paid sick leave, and lower job security. Because of this, workers who sustain injuries in these professions are widely prescribed opioids to manage the pain.

A 2011 review of studies analyzing the use of prescribed opioids among workers receiving workers’ compensation found the average percent of injured workers prescribed opioids was 31.8%. In addition, 25% of workers’ compensation were for opioid pain medication.

It’s important to note that there was a 24% decline in the average amount of opioid use per injured worker between 2010–2012 and 2013–2015 in Massachusetts, meaning harm reduction strategies are showing signs of effectiveness, according to the Department of Public Health.

“Work-related injuries often serve as the initiation for opioid pain medication, which can subsequently lead to opioid misuse,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD. “Ensuring that jobs are safe, that the risk of injury is low and that workers have the time for rehabilitation and are not self-medicating to keep working are all key to decreasing opioid overdose deaths among workers.”

But perhaps the biggest takeaway here is that when it comes to the Massachusetts workforce, employees in low-wage, labor-intensive jobs that don’t require extensive higher education are more likely to develop an addiction to opioids and are more likely to suffer an overdose death as a result.

The study reviewed 4,302 opioid-related overdose deaths via Massachusetts death certificates. Statistical data for people who identify as Hispanic and black, non-Hispanic (the populations Gándara Center supports and promotes) may be an underestimate. According to the study, “death certificates among these racial/ethnic groups were more likely to have missing industry and occupation information,” and were therefore excluded.

By |August 9th, 2018|News, Politics|Comments Off on Minorities in These Jobs are More Likely to Suffer Opioid Overdose Deaths [Report]

In Capuano vs. Pressley Debate, Missed Opportunity to Talk Opioid Crisis & Mental Health

On Tuesday, August 7, candidates running for the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District debated at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Incumbent congressman, Michael Capuano (D), squared off against Boston City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley (D). The two candidates touched on a number of subjects; from race relations and immigration, to transportation and equity, to age and experience, but noticeably absent from the discourse were the topics of substance use and mental health, in particular the opioid crisis.

That is not to say matters like race, transit, and experience do not matter in this contest; they most certainly do. The 7th Congressional District is noted for its vibrant cultural and economic diversity.

More than half the population identifies as non-white, according to U.S. Census data. For 20 years Capuano, a Dartmouth College graduate with a law degree from Boston College and an attorney by trade, has represented the district and is highly popular with residents. Pressley, the first woman of color on the Boston City Council and former aid to John Kerry and Joseph P. Kennedy II, aims to unset Capuano on a platform of change, energy, and grassroots-level organization. She says her perspective is fresh and aligns with the diversity of the district.

The District is composed of the cities of Chelsea, Everett, Randolph, Somerville, and large portions of Boston, Cambridge, and Milton.

Opioid Crisis & Minority Populations

For minorities in particular, the opioid epidemic has been nightmarish. From 2014–2017 opioid-related deaths among Hispanics more than doubled in Massachusetts, a rate higher than any other demographic. In some of the district’s communities, as seen in the chart above, overall overdoses also doubled from one year to the next.

Boston EMS respond to dozens of thousands of incidents every year, and in 2015, 2016, and 2017 overdoses constituted just 1.3%, 1.4%, and 1.5% of those incidents. But, as you can see in the chart below, those small percentages actually represent a growing rate of overdose responses; from 1,544 to almost 2,000 in just three years. (Remember: not all of Boston is part of the district, though the majority of its land area and population are).

Data via Boston EMS 2017 Vital Statistics

Data via Boston EMS 2017 Vital Statistics

Still, there is reason to be optimistic. Data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health indicates overdose deaths and opioid-related incidents are beginning to slow down across the state. This is likely due in part to the growing accessibility of the overdose prevention drug known as Narcan. In Boston, for example, calls in which Narcan was administered were up 30% in 2017.

In addition, the state legislature has pushed multiple bills that target the crisis while Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) budget allocates ” $203 million across multiple agencies (not including MassHealth) for treatment and services for individuals with substance use disorder, an approximately 70% increase since 2015,” according to his press office. It also calls for a $109 million increase in funding for the Department of Mental Health and a $1 billion in the Department of Children and Families.

Further, a recent study led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at the rate opioids were prescribed in congressional districts in 2016. It found that rates in districts concentrated near urban centers, including Boston and the 7th District, have the lowest prescribing rates and have been on the decline for years.

But this fight is a long way from over. That is why it was so striking that neither Capuano or Pressley used this opportunity to speak directly to their constituents about their plans to increase efforts to combat substance use and stigma, and support mental health initiatives. All of the topics discussed are in some way connected to the crisis and both candidates could have used those opportunities to nudge the conversation toward that subject.

Pressley’s campaign website has sections dedicated to substance use disorders, mental health, and public health. Capuano’s campaign website has a section dedicated to universal healthcare and improving community health centers.

The primary election is schedule for September 4. As of now, no Republican challengers have declared their candidacy.

By |August 8th, 2018|Events, News, Politics|Comments Off on In Capuano vs. Pressley Debate, Missed Opportunity to Talk Opioid Crisis & Mental Health

Here’s the 2018 Frozen Yogurt 5K Route [Map]

It’s less than three weeks until the 4th Annual Frozen Yogurt 5K road race and we hope you’re as excited as we are. The Frozen Yogurt 5K route map can be explored below.

This year, proceeds from the race will help us build a universally accessible playground at our Mooreland residential group home for children. This fantastic cause will enable Mooreland residents to use recreation as a way to promote  healthy living.

Frozen Yogurt 5K Route

Registration is still open but you better hurry! Sign up by August 15 and you’ll be receive a free t-shirt. And since we’re on the topic of free, don’t forget: kids age 5 and under can run or walk for free, and leashed pets can also join you for no extra cost.

Oh, and did we mention our friends over at GoBerry will be giving out free frozen yogurt samples?

Here are a few more housekeeping items to remember:


Sign up for the Frozen Yogurt 5K here.


The staging area is on the Courthouse Lawn across from the Calvin Theater. For GPS purposes please use 19 King Street Northampton, MA.

Official Times & Medal Categories 

Our 5K is officially timed by RaceWire. Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each of the following categories: Male, Female, 12 and under and 50 and over

Why We Run 

We run to raise awareness of mental health and addiction disorders and to put an end to the stigma surrounding these often misunderstood illnesses that affect so many of our friends and families.

By |August 7th, 2018|Events|Comments Off on Here’s the 2018 Frozen Yogurt 5K Route [Map]

Gándara in the News: Debra Flynn-Gonzalez, Program Director for Hope for Holyoke

On Wednesday, Western Mass News turned to Debra Flynn-Gonzalez, Gándara Center’s Hope for Holyoke Program Director, for expert insight on how stories like celebrity Demi Lovato’s reported overdose hit close to home.

Lovato, who had been sober for six years, relapsed on Tuesday and overdosed. She was treated with the overdose prevention drug  Narcan before being transported to a hospital. Her condition is stable.

“We’re very familiar with her story,” Flynn-Gonzalez said. “As a recovery community we know that relapse is often part of the process of recovery. It’s not a requirement, we know that too.”

Flynn-Gonzalez leads Gándara Center’s Hope for Holyoke, a peer-to-peer support program where the idea of community is vital to pursuing recovery. Substance users often carry feelings of isolation and hopelessness, which can sometimes lead to relapse and overdose. Hope for Holyoke provides a communal environment where users and individuals in recovery can talk with people with similar experiences, who understand the hardships and stigmas that accompany substance use.

“The support from other people and peers,” added Flynn-Gonzalez. “I hope that she and anyone has that in her life so you can talk to people who were in your shoes.”

The Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area (Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties combined) had 148 confirmed fatal overdoses in 2017. Between 2000-2017, the area had 1,390 fatal overdoses.

You can read the Western Mass News article and watch the video segment online here.

Hope for Holyoke

Hope for Holyoke offers free, no-insurance-needed services including relapse prevention and tobacco cessation support groups, social events, access to computers for job readiness/job search activities, and advocacy and recovery coaching. Support also includes peer governance where participants form advisory boards and use community meetings to create policies such as Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct, and determine program activities such as peer support groups and participation in health fairs, community events and celebrations/holidays.

All paths to recovery are accepted. Participants must be 18 years of age or older. Parents may bring adolescents or children to the center if they follow the center’s policy related to supervision and attendance. Members who come under the influence of substances or alcohol are given a choice to go for treatment or they will be asked to leave and come back when they are not under the influence.

100 Suffolk Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
Contact: (413) 561-1020
Monday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Open, Self
No costs, no insurance needed.
By |July 26th, 2018|Events, Gandara in the News, News|Comments Off on Gándara in the News: Debra Flynn-Gonzalez, Program Director for Hope for Holyoke

What Demi Lovato Can Teach Us About Recognizing Warning Signs of Relapse

In June, singer-songwriter Demi Lovato did what she does best: she delivered a powerful, emotionally-charged performance, in Lisbon, Portugal, where she sang a rendition of her song “Sober.” The lyrics are an apologetic admission of a relapse; Lovato, who for years has battled substance use in addition to depression and bipolar disorder, was at the time six-years sober. On Tuesday, July 24, one month after she posted a clip of her singing “Sober,” she was treated for an “apparent overdose” which has yet to be confirmed.

Lovato was reportedly administered the overdose prevention drug Narcan before being hospitalized. She is now in stable condition.

There are many lessons to be taken from Lovato’s experience which we can apply to our own lives and the lives of those around us. Cries for help and warning signs of relapse can sometimes be difficult to detect. But knowing what to look for could ultimately save someone’s life.

Warning Signs

According to TMZ, Lovato’s friends saw distressing changes in her that made them think she might be on the brink of renewing her substance use. “They say the signs became more alarming as the days passed, and one friend says he knew for weeks she was in the danger zone … when he saw her this week it was apparent she was in trouble.”

In addition, TMZ reports she had a falling out with her sober coach.

These and the following behaviors are indicative of a potential relapse:

Change in Attitudes, Thoughts, Feelings and Actions

According to a study supported by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grants, negative emotional states like anxiety, depression, frustration, and boredom, referred to as intrapersonal high-risk situations, are associated with the highest rate of relapse. “These emotional states may be caused by primarily intrapersonal perceptions of certain situations (e.g., feeling bored or lonely after coming home from work to an empty house) or by reactions to environmental events (e.g., feeling angry about an impending layoff at work).”

Romanticizing Substance Use

Some individuals in recovery may reminisce about their former days using substances. Remembering those dark days as though they were good times can be dangerous. The support network American Addition Centers notes “It’s easy for an addicted individual to remember only the positives of their abuse and forget all the anguish it may have caused them.”

Physical Changes

Anything from weight loss to wearing dirty clothes can be a red flag. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence says physical symptoms can include “flushed skin and broken capillaries on the face; a husky voice; trembling hands; bloody or black/tarry stools or vomiting blood; chronic diarrhea,” as well as “serious changes or deterioration in hygiene or physical appearance – lack of showering, slovenly appearance, unclean clothes.”

Breakdown of Social Structures

The onset of a relapse can sometimes be caused by feelings of hopelessness and isolation. Whether you have a falling out with your friends, family, counseling group, or sobriety coach, a breakdown of social structures can amplify these feelings of seclusion. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), points to the “failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home” as a telltale sign someone might be on the verge of reverting back to substance use.

The Gándara Center is dedicated to providing comprehensive recovery services. From residential recovery homes specifically for women, men, or young adults; to outpatient addiction programs to peer-to-peer support, Gándara Center is committed to providing safe, secure, and healthy pathways for recovery.

If you or someone you know would benefit from our recovery programs, or is showing signs of a likely relapse, visit our website or contact us today and learn which services may best suit your needs.

Image via Focka
By |July 25th, 2018|Events, News|Comments Off on What Demi Lovato Can Teach Us About Recognizing Warning Signs of Relapse

Mass. Senate Scraps Plan for Safe-Injection Site

The Massachusetts Senate scrapped a provision in a major bill to combat the opioid crisis on Thursday, July 19. The provision would have established a safe-injection site for substance users as a step toward their recovery. These sites enable people to inject illegal drugs under direct supervision of healthcare professionals. Here, they could’ve also received medical attention, therapy, and referrals for additional treatment options.

Prior to the senate vote, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling commented that safe-injection site users could still be subject to prosecution under federal law.

“’Supervised injection facilities’ would violate federal laws prohibiting the use of illicit drugs and the operation of sites where illicit drugs are used and distributed,” said Mr. Lelling in a statement. “Employees and users of such a site would be exposed to federal criminal charges regardless of any state law or study.”

The bill, however, establishes a commission that will study best practices, possible areas for improvement, and the overall feasibility of safe-injection sites. The commission must submit a report of its findings to the state legislature by February 2019.

Governor Charlie Baker told the Boston Globe on Thursday he thinks “sanctioning heroin injection facilities does not reduce overdose deaths and these facilities are not a responsible tool to combat the opioid  epidemic.”

Gov. Baker’s hesitation to greenlight the use of illicit substances, even in the name of harm reduction, is understandable; the opioid crisis continues to wreak havoc on individuals and communities across the state and the country. Data from the Mass. Department of Public Health confirms that there were at least 201 opioid-related overdose deaths from January to March of this year, and estimates an additional 240 to 305 deaths.

But there’s no denying the effectiveness of safe-injection sites. A study from 2014 analyzed 75 scientific articles and found that overall, safe-injection sites successfully promote safer injection conditions for users, through provisions like clean needles; reduce overdose frequency; reduce public syringe disposal; and yield no increase in injections, trafficking, and crime in areas surrounding the sites.

Vancouver opened the first safe-injection site in North America in 2003. In 2011, a study showed that overdose deaths within a half mile of the Vancouver facility dropped significantly while change occurred across the rest of the city. Average monthly ambulance calls for Narcan treatment also dropped, as did reported cases of HIV contraction.

Safe-injection sites are also an efficient use of public funds. Data from the first five years of the Vancouver program indicated the city saved more than $6 million annually.


Image via Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism


By |July 20th, 2018|News|Comments Off on Mass. Senate Scraps Plan for Safe-Injection Site

Gándara Center Outpatient Clinic Accessibility Plan

This plan describes the measures that the Outpatient Gandara Center Outpatient Clinic has taken to identify, remove, and prevent barriers for people with or without disabilities who work, use, visit or lives in our facilities.

Read the plan here.

By |February 1st, 2018|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Gándara Center Outpatient Clinic Accessibility Plan