To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I think I speak for many of my fellow Pittsfield residents when I say that I am disgusted by the heroin epidemic, but I was outraged by the article in Sunday’s Eagle that stated the city’s "solution," or lack thereof. Reporter Adam Shanks did a great job of staying nonjudgmental when he said that "municipalities have different protocols when it comes to handling used needles," but since I am not obligated to stay nonjudgmental, here goes.
The difference between North Adams’ protocol and Pittsfield’s? North Adams actually has one. Call the police and someone will come to properly take care of the needles. In Pittsfield? Call the health department, but the best it can do is "guide" you through disposing of it yourself. I’m disgusted by the city’s lack of regard for not only how ridiculous this sounds, but how dangerous it is. These needles have the potential to spread awful diseases, and I don’t care who is on the other side of my phone telling me what to do, I’m not touching one.
Let me make it clear that I am not a naive person. I am not ignorant to the fact that the opiate abuse problem in Berkshire County is huge. I understand that the city and the health care professionals in the county must be under an extreme amount of stress with the burden that they are carrying to combat this problem. However, it’s not unreasonable for me to expect a better solution to this problem.
I can respect health care workers who do not have an easy task and are burdened with treating overdosing patients time after time. However, I cannot respect the fact that in the same hospital where this is happening, someone else in a different room is being prescribed more opiate painkillers than they will ever need. I’m aware that the governor and District Attorney Capeless are doing their best to combat this, the root of the problem, but the problem is nowhere even close to being solved.
The city gets no credit for making me aware that there’s a problem. If I see a dirty syringe on the side of the road, I can figure that much out myself.
The city loses credit when I read in a newspaper article that I can’t call on them to solve it.