9-year-old boy trips and falls on a used needle during practice.
The opioid crisis continues to lead to an ever-increasing overdose rate, litigation, and efforts by lawmakers to control the number of people who become addicted. Just how serious this crisis truly is became very evident after a 9-year-old football player fell on a used needle during his practice in Boston, Massachusetts. The boy tripped and fell during at a public park onto its sharp point.
Boston Bengals Pop Warner coach Domingos Darosa said of the growing opioid problem in the area, “We’ve been dealing with this for a little over a decade. We have an opioid crisis like every city across the United States.”
He explained that he had asked the kids to take a lap to warm up, and the football player fell while doing so. Other players summoned him over, and Darosa called emergency medical services (EMS) to transport the football player to the hospital to be examined. The boy’s mother was also called.
“This is every day. This is 365 days a year. We as a community can’t take anymore,” said Darosa, who added that the needle incident not only impacted the boy who fell on it, but his entire team. They panicked and are now afraid to continue practicing at the location. Some of the kids have even quit the team.
“We’ve been asking the city to have ongoing maintenance and also police presence,” Darosa said. He shared another example to drive home just how bad the issue has gotten. The coach explained that there is a video of a naked homeless man in the bleachers of a nearby softball field. The man sat there while the girls were at practice until their coach saw him and asked him to leave. It was obvious that the man was on drugs.
Darosa said, “We’ve been asking the city to have ongoing maintenance and also police presence, to ensure that the young people who use this park and [the] community itself [don’t] have to be the nameless victims of what’s going on around the city.” He added that the elementary school is only 100 feet from the park where they practice.
It is unclear whether the boy who fell on the needle experienced any lasting repercussions as a result.
The opioid problem is particularly bad in Massachusetts. There was a “steady increase in overdose fatalities from 2000 to 2012. Then, after 2012,” the state’s opioid-related death rate almost tripled in just four years, from “691 in 2012 to 1,990 in 2016,” federal data shows. Currently, more than “80 percent of drug-related deaths in the white, black, and Hispanic communities are opioid–related.”
Much of the issue revolves around the powerful synthetic opioid, fentanyl. Up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, it has been flooding U.S. cities in greater numbers as of late. While the issue is a nationwide one, the problem has been particularly bad in Massachusetts.
There needs to be more proactive measures put into place now that the states are beginning to reach settlements with the parties responsible for fueling the epidemic. Opioid use disorder (OUD) not only affects the users themselves, but their loved ones and the communities in which they live. Identifying ways to combat the development of addiction in the first place is vital.