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Addiction and Drug Use

A Safe Place To Ride Out A High Provides Opportunity For Research, Treatment

Dr. Jessie Gaeta, chief medical officer at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, inside the conference room where heroin users are monitored while they ride out a high.
Jesse Costa
/
WBUR
Dr. Jessie Gaeta, chief medical officer at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, inside the conference room where heroin users are monitored while they ride out a high.

It's  just a quiet room filled with comfortable chairs, stocked with oxygen tanks and blood pressure cuffs. But it's likely the only place of it's kind in the country - a safe place where drug users can come to sit out a high under medical supervision. 

As nurse April Donahue tells WBUR's Commonhealth, the experience is different from working with this population in the past. 

'I think what’s struck me the most is the gratitude,' Donahue says, remembering patients who look at her with trust instead of fear or shame. These men and women are tired of having to hide their drug use in an alley or fast food restaurant bathroom. 'Just to get out of that environment, even for a little while, to get off the street and be cared for.'

The room is allowing researchers to learn more about what happens to the body during an overdose. And for social workers, it provides a prime opportunity to start a conversation about treatment. Read the story: 
 
In A Safe Space, Medical Professionals Monitor What's Really Happening During A Drug High