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The Boston Globe

Four people will die today from an opioid overdose in Massachusetts. Tomorrow, if the average from 2015 remains unchanged, another four souls — who may at this very moment be reading this article — will also lose their lives with the push of a plunger.

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Dr. O'Connell’s collection of stories and essays, written during thirty years of caring for homeless persons in Boston, gently illuminates the humanity and raw courage of those who struggle to survive and find meaning and hope while living on the streets. To learn more about Stories from the Shadows or to purchase a copy, please click here.

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Boston Business Journal

Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program is making headlines as of late, with news that the organization is trying to open up a safe space for drug users to ride out their high.

The idea may sound counterintuitive to solving the city’s growing opioid epidemic, but the organization hasn’t lasted 30 years and catered to some of the neediest clients by doing the expected.

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WBUR - Common Health

A room with a nurse, some soft chairs and basic life-saving equipment. Together, this is the latest tool a group of local doctors and nurses plans to create to fight the state’s opiate epidemic. Though it doesn’t have all the funding yet, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program  (BHCHP) plans to open the so-called “safe space,” where heroin users could ride out a high under medical supervision, at the beginning of next year at the corner of Mass. Ave and Albany Street.

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Yahoo News

Since the 1600s, Boston has been the unofficial capital of New England — and, at times, the nation. Now healthcare advocates for the homeless believe it's time for the City on a Hill to lead the way in combatting a new scourge making alarming inroads in even small-town America: opiate addiction.

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Mass Live

Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program hopes to open a "safe space" for intravenous drug users, one they say can help prevent overdoses.

The room would feature reclining chairs, medical professionals on hand to check vitals and life-saving equipment if a drug user overdoses.

“[It would be] a place where people would come if they’re high and they need a safe place to be that’s not a street corner or not a bathroom by themselves, where they’re at high risk of dying if they do overdose," Dr. Jessie Gaeta, the BHCHP chief medical officer, told WBUR.

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The Boston Globe

So it turns out that, as was feared, Melvin, the homeless guy who was a fixture in Kenmore Square for more than 30 years, has died.

Melvin died of an apparent heroin overdose Oct. 16 in a park next to the Fenway Victory Garden, a half mile from his familiar perch on the stoop of the derelict West Gate building.

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Crux

Thanksgiving season is the time of year when many of us pitch in to help the homeless.

Dr. Jim O’Connell and his team of doctors and nurses will still be helping them next week and the week after that.

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The Boston Globe

Four years ago, when she was a freshman at Boston University, Sarah Kapica would avert her eyes as she walked past the man who sat, wrapped in a blanket, in the doorway of an abandoned apartment building in Kenmore Square.

She had grown up in a nice family in a nice house in a nice suburb, and the scruffy homeless man made her uncomfortable.

But something changed her sophomore year. Something gnawed at her as she crossed the intersection at Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue, pushing her inexorably toward the sunken man huddled in the doorway.

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BU Research

“After four years of medical school and three years of residency, I had thought my training was finally over,” writes O’Connell in his memoir Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor. “My education in homelessness and poverty was just beginning.” BU Research spoke to O’Connell about slowing down, opening up, and how losing his stethoscope made him a better doctor.

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