Operation Yellow Box: Council votes tonight

Tonight the City Council will again have an opportunity to approve Operation Yellow Box, a limited needle-disposal plan. Now that syringes are available over-the-counter in Massachusetts, you’d think everybody would want there to be safe places for disposal of dirty needles.

City Manager O’Brien: “I am confident that Operation Yellow Box will lead to increased community protection, education, and awareness surrounding the safe disposal of needles and syringes.”

The people I know with a history of IV drug use are often irresponsible, and sometimes responsible. They also have friends and associates who don’t do drugs. I’d like there to be safe places to dispose of needles, whether by someone finding one on the street, a junkie on a good day, or someone visiting that drug user and finding needles lying around.

There are people I respect who oppose needle legalization and needle exchange, who think that “harm reduction” sends a bad message. But even they support needle disposal plans. This isn’t about reducing the harm that addicts cause themselves—it’s about reducing the harm that they cause everyone else.

For more info, read Lara Jirmanus’s op-ed, and the T&G’s related position.

I e-mailed the City Council about this issue, and Dennis Irish wrote back:

If allowed to vote, (4 councilors could hold it until the next meeting) I believe the votes are there to approve this tonight. If it’s held, I am prepared to vote for a special council meeting to get it done before year end.

As I understand it, opponents of Operation Yellow Box will use up their last “time out” tonight. Changes in next year’s Council may give opponents additional opportunities to delay or bury this plan. I hope that enough people e-mail their Councilors, and attend tonight’s meeting, to make all the Councilors feel comfortable voting for this plan, without the need for an extra meeting.

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