If You Build It, They Will Come – Rail Trails and Heroin Trails ~ PAYING ATTENTION with TOM DUGGAN


Rail Trail

Last month, the state legislature approved giving Lawrence another $1.5M for … get this … improvements to the “rail trail”.

For those who don’t know what the “rail trail” is, check this out.

Your local and state officials have been spending millions of your tax dollars every year to create pretty walking areas along dead rail road lines. They stretch all over the Merrimack Valley.

After millions are spent, these areas are then taken over by homeless addicts who set up tents, create piles of garbage, and shoot heroin every single day, hidden away from the general public.

It’s happening.

We cover it on Facebook every day.

And it doesn’t matter if you are talking about North Andover or Lawrence, Groveland, or Salem NH. Rail Trails have become the preferred squatting grounds for drug users, drug dealers, and other types of criminals who understand what our clueless politicians don’t, the value of a secluded area hidden from public view, and only accessible by foot. It’s the perfect place to commit crimes.

Ask any police officer who has had to respond to an overdose anywhere on the rail trail. In Lawrence they get 8 to 10 calls a week, and that’s on a slow week.

The cops I talk to on the scene of these “narcan” calls describe the trail of needles they have to follow and climb through to get to the “man down” from an overdose on a rail trail. Gunshot calls on the rail trail are much less fun for our first responders.

I particularly hope the people of Methuen are paying attention to this problem. It’s growing there faster and more dangerously than in Lawrence.

Something really bad is going to happen over there, and you won’t be able to say you didn’t know.


This huge rail trail funding push over the last few years has been sold to the public with fairy tale promises of safe and clean fresh air spaces, where families can hold hands and take nature walks, singing songs, and bringing back a sense of “community” for everyone.

Most of the people who advocate for rail trail spending when there are so many other problems to solve are puppets for leadership in the house and senate. They don’t use the rail trail. They don’t know anyone who ever will use the rail trail. They really could care less about a rail trail.

They are political opportunists.

I believe the true purpose of this rail trail funding craze is a deliberate attempt to create permanent places for homeless people to set up shop – hidden from the public – where they can create mini tent cities and shoot all the heroin they want – a place where they aren’t a menace to the rest of us every day.

Get it?

State leaders are trying to hide the problem of opioid abuse, homelessness and the myriad of social problems caused when you combine the two.

They are not trying to solve it.

I have driven the rail trail from Methuen to Lawrence more than once. I have also walked and driven parts of the rail trail in other communities numerous times.

They are cesspools of dirty needles, piles of garbage, prostitution, and in many places, heroin tent encampments of users and drug dealers.

No elected official should ever support funding for rail trails.

That bears repeating.

NO elected official should ever approve one dollar of our tax money for rail trails. 

I have never once heard a voter at election time say, “you know, I’m voting for Suzie because she increased millions in funding for a rail trail”.

Sure, politicians get photo ops to pretend for the little people that they are actually accomplishing something when that rail trail check comes in. But, at the end of the day they are literally throwing money out the window.

That $1.5M in Lawrence alone (more elsewhere) could have funded quite a few new police officers.

It could have funded new voting machines, a new communication system for the fire and police, better teachers, maybe even more home heating assistance for poor Latino children going to bed cold every night in the dead of winter.

But it’s not.

Which makes you have to wonder. Why would our state leaders choose to take tax money needed for so many other things, and use it for landscaping along rail road lines. Lines that 99.99% of the people in our communities will never, ever be able to enjoy.

Weird huh?

6 Responses to "If You Build It, They Will Come – Rail Trails and Heroin Trails ~ PAYING ATTENTION with TOM DUGGAN"

  1. John H   January 3, 2018 at 4:57 AM

    What an absolute load of unadulterated bull shit. From my 37 years as a Police Officer in Australia, I found heroin addicts and their suppliers were far more likely to prefer areas where they had direct access to their suppliers, back alleys in seedy areas of a suburb with access to motor vehicles and a close supply of places and people to steal from. Crime hot spots in Sydney were always within the area spanned by a radius of about 300 metres from a railway station or other regular public transport hub. Very few of them liked to go “camping’ in tents in rural areas where rail trails generally exist. And if it is such a problem on a dedicated cycle way, then perhaps bicycle Police Patrols would be a strategic tool to interrupt their idyllic rustic lifestyle.

  2. Phil   January 4, 2018 at 3:18 PM

    I think this article while probably correct about the facts on the ground, but misses the actual political dynamic. I live near the Minuteman rail trail which runs through a series of affluent (and by extension influential) suburbs. The trail is clean and extremely popular (though there are sections where it is clear that high schoolers drink on occasion). These folks think that a rail trail is an absolute good, and provides for more of the great progressive icon the bicycle. They can’t imagine the dynamic of old mill towns with drug problems creating a haven. It is simply not on their radar (it hadn’t occurred to me until your article). These are the same as the tree huggers protecting the deer until they overpopulate and destroy lots of gardens and small farms. It is unwise to credit to malice what can be explained by ignorance.It’s also not clear that the spending is significantly making the situation worse. The investigation you should consider is finding out how many people actually use the trails which can be done by a series of visits at different times and counting the people. i think the price per person might be quite interesting.

    • Ken Davidson   January 5, 2018 at 9:42 AM

      They actually have trail counters in many locations. The data can be obtained.

    • Jerry   March 6, 2020 at 10:26 AM

      your worried about deer coming into you backyard and eating your plants. they are only in your yard because some people destroy there spot in nature. Maybe you could feed a couple of deer your flowers, it would be the least you could do to repay them for taking over their forests with bigger houses and businesses. In actuality a deer is frightened by humans and would rather not be in your back yard. I’m not trying to start an argument that is just my take on it right now. best wishes.

  3. Peach6972   January 5, 2018 at 8:48 PM

    Great article eye opening, soo true ,well said..

  4. Andrew   May 5, 2019 at 7:30 AM

    I use the rail trail everyday and love the improvements. There is a homeless camp at the methuen Lawrence line and I’ve never had any issue. The trash associated with it an eyesore but the urban outdoorsman present seem to keep to themselves. Is it ideal no, would I bring my kids no, is it safe in the day time yes. I think funding should continue or increase.