Please Know...

As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

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Monday, May 27, 2019

It's Time to Plow Down Medicaid Mountain!

I was standing on this portion of the sidewalk on Kensington Avenue today as I was chatting with a man, a long time resident of Kensington.  I'd never met him prior to this moment.  As we stood there talking about how this area has become an open-air absolutely public no-need-to-hide-it grassroots overdose prevention site, men and women were sticking needles in their necks, tourniqueted arms and legs all in the name of 'taking their much-needed medicine.'  These men and women bear (real or blog names) such as Amy, Ashley, Gina, George, Jose, Jesus, Joseph, David, Manuel, Rashime and so many more. 

Used and uncapped syringes originally meant for insulin injections, piled up on the lighter colored portion of the sidewalk to the right of the step in the picture I've linked you to above.  As this man and I casually chatted in the presence of heroin, fentanyl and all sorts of mystery ingredients entering the veins of men and women I've come to love so very much, I reached in my pocket to be sure that my dose of Narcan was available.  It was and yet, I knew it would not be needed.  Thanks to Prevention Point, there is probably as much Narcan on this street as there is heroin!  

And that's the point of this blog…

These collections of human beings gathered together, whether they be under bridges designed to hold rail lines or on sidewalks of local 'mom and pop' businesses such as are on Kensington Avenue, serve a vital and life-saving purpose.  These men and women who would prefer not to have SubstanceUse Disorder as an officially recognized diagnosis in their lives take their potentially instantly deadly medicine because their bodies DEMAND that they do so, not because they want to nor choose to do so.  It is no longer their choice to take or not take their medicine.  

In a very real way, these collections of human beings gathered on the sidewalks are a grassroots level hospital ward where the patients are also the medical service providers.  Some patients inject themselves.  Others can't and so the medication nurse - another patient - provides the injection.  If someone starts to seriously overdose to the point of needing Narcan, the rapid response team - other patients - steps in to provide the life-saving drug and all standard life-saving procedures.  

For those of us who have never walked down this path of Substance Use Disorder, decide now to intellectually accept this demand of their bodies even if you can't understand it with a firsthand understanding.

Once you accept this fact, even if you can't totally understand it, we can begin to work together to make progress on doing something positive about solving this issue. 

Nearly 100% of the men and women on these streets are reliant on Medicaid for financial coverage of their health care needs.  

The inadequate levels of reimbursement to medical facilities are so insufficient that many places simply cannot afford to take these wonderful human beings in as patients.  Those that do focus on Medicaid patients can't afford to provide decency, dignity, nor respect in their settings.  The end result is a higher death rate among Substance Use Disorder patients on Medicaid compared to those with private insurance. 

This MUST be corrected!

I don't pretend to have the answers…

I do know this…

It's Time to Plow Down Medicaid Mountain!

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