Sidewalk Chalk Writings Aim to Remove Stigma of Drug Overdoses

Chalk writing on sidewalks in Jamaica Plain and throughout Boston are drawing attention to individuals who have died from drug overdoses in an effort to remove the stigma of ODs.

Chalk writing outside of the Jackson Square MBTA station looks to remove the stigma of those who have died from drug overdoses. (Photo: Jamaica Plain News)

Chalk messages seen Thursday outside the Jackson Square MBTA station (above) and by the boathouse at Jamaica Pond (below) mention a person’s first name, their age and something special about them.

They include messages referring to people like Justin, 34, who was “awesome and good looking. Forever missed and loved.” Another refers to Julie Ann, who was 34 and was “adventurous and silly. Mother of one, loved by many.”

The chalk writings are also in other Boston neighborhoods, telling similar stories with hashtag #StoriesNotStigma and the website link knowmoreod.com. The site links to the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

The chalk writings are in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day Aug. 31. In addition, at-large City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George, chair of the city’s Committee on Homelessness, Mental Health and Recovery, authored a resolution that recognized Aug. 31 as Overdose Awareness Day in Boston.

 

  • Monster

    The only way I can see that reducing “stigma” could be beneficial in this situation is if it is preventing secretive addicts from seeking help, or preventing the public from supporting expanded access to methadone/suboxone (although anyone driving through Methadone Mile can see the negative impact that becoming a center for access can have on a neighborhood).

    Otherwise, overdosing on heroin seems like an action that’s pretty worthy of stigmatization.