‘I want action,’ Cambridge mayor writes after learning friend died following struggle with addiction

“I want to stop treating people struggling with homeless or addiction as unworthy.”

Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern is one of the people announcing the creation of the United Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants.
Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern. –Joseph Prezioso / Getty Images

Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern shared in a moving Facebook post on Sunday that he learned a friend of his who struggled with homelessness and addiction died from an overdose.

“On Thursday I saw him in Central Sq. and he was looking a little rough,” McGovern wrote of his friend, “John M.” “He said that he relapsed but was trying to get into a 14 day treatment bed. I told him to come by and see me and I would try to help. He smiled, as he always did and said he would come by. I just found out that he overdosed Thursday night and passed away. I’m heartbroken. He was a good man who had a tough time in life.”


McGovern, who is a member of the state’s Harm Reduction Commission and has said he is in favor of bringing supervised injection sites and other methods of harm reduction to Cambridge, said he wasn’t sharing the story of his friend because he wanted “condolences or ‘thoughts and prayers.’”

He said he never wants to see another friend not be able to get the help they need “in time.” 

“I want action,” McGovern wrote. “I want to stop treating people struggling with homeless or addiction as unworthy. I want to stop blaming people. I want our federal, state and local governments to invest in housing, treatment, harm reduction and education. I want John to still be alive.”

Read the mayor’s full post below: