A Herald article highlights the important debate on harm-reduction initiatives for opioid use disorders (“Boston eyes safe sites for addicts” June 6). Unfortunately, the article also furthers the stigma around addiction by repeatedly using the term “Methadone Mile.”

The statewide Association for Behavioral Healthcare strongly objects to the use of that term to refer to an area of Boston that is home to a major teaching hospital and other health care organizations including two methadone clinics. All of these facilities provide much-needed services to our community.

Methadone is a lifesaving medication used to treat individuals who struggle with a chronic disease that is treatable. Medication assisted treatments, such as methadone, bridge the biological and behavioral components of addiction. Research shows that a combination of medication and behavioral therapies can help sustain recovery.

And these medications help reduce mortality while patients begin recovery.

We urge the Herald to stop using this derogatory term that denigrates a neighborhood and feeds a stigma associated with substance-use disorders.

— Vic DiGravio, president and CEO, Association for Behavioral Healthcare, Natick

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