Members of the newly formed North End Coalition hosted a talk with middle school students from the Eliot K-8 Schools and St. John Schools in the North End to educate the children on the importance of needle safety in homes, as well as in public spaces.
The presentation was organized by Maria Lanza from Mayor Walsh’s office in conjunction with Michael Bonetti from City Councilor Lydia Edward’s office in response to an incident that occurred in September when a little boy was scratched by a needle while playing in the Paul Revere Mall.
The North End Coalition is a group of organizations, nonprofits, and neighborhood residents who have come together with the goal of educating and spreading awareness around opioids and other substances in the hope of making the neighborhood safer. Presenters from the Coalition included social workers and nurses from North End Waterfront Health (NEW Health) and the Boston Police Department.
David Perry and health center members informed the students about what to do if one of them should come across a needle in public spaces, and what actions should be taken in the event that someone is stuck with a needle. Officer Theodore Boyle and other members of the Boston Police Department talked about some of their experiences with substance users and gave important advice on how to avoid and report trouble.
Every speaker stressed the importance of reporting discarded needles seen in parks or other public places. The City of Boston encourages all residence to use Boston 311 – a service where residents can report needles sightings straight to the City so officials can come and collect them. The North End Coalition plans to hold additional educational events in the near future.