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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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Friday, November 15, 2019

The "Cure" Is Worse Than The "Problem."

Today, for the first time in the three years that I have been visiting the people on the streets of Kensington, a new and disturbing thought hit me…

While acknowledging and being thankful for pockets of success…

Sadly, the inept[1], unprofessional, cruel, incompetent, non-respectful, etc. etc, etc. responses by people who have pledged themselves to integrity in government or their medical careers to Hippocrates have largely been an utter failure in making better to any real degree this national tragedy within homeless addicted people diagnosed with Substance Use Disorder.

The men and women of SUD themselves, in their attempts to maintain self developed safety guidelines had been doing an amazing job.  For example, 

To the untrained eye, a bunch of people living in tents under a bridge are labeled “addicts” “whores” “moral incompetents” and other uneducated, painful, derogatory references.

Looking more closely, however, you would have discovered a gathering of people bound together by an officially recognized disease of SUD and who are in the addicted phase thereof.   In the absence of respectful, timely medical treatment at the Medicaid level of care, they have no real choice other than to continue to take their "medicine".  

In the absence of being able to find w-2 type employment they must resort to various forms of less dignified ‘service jobs’.  For the men: this might include hauling loose metal to junkyards to redeem for cash or for the ladies: renting their bodies for, well, you know…

They gather in these communities for one overriding reason.  Their needed medicine can kill them.  They know this.  So as to avoid this possibility as much as can be, they gather together to inject.  If one person starts to overdose, someone else will see this happening and provide Narcan.  In so doing they save each other’s lives.  

The number of saves of homeless SUD patients by other homeless SUD patients will shock you.  153… 76… 43… 25…  These are real numbers presented to me by four street residents.  That’s a lot of non-dead relatives and funerals that didn’t happen.

By being in community, they maintain their own grassroots level overdose prevention sites.  Well, we need to put that in past tense.  These coherent communities were deleted by the City of Brotherly Love in their efforts to “clean up” the problem of “addicts” injecting in the open.

The end result has been an increase in the number of orphans as their Moms/Dads or both have overdosed in the solitude of an abandoned house, back alley or other such settings


Moms and Dads of these men and women who suffered from SUD who have had to bury their daughters and sons.  

There are many other examples of how these medical patients have been failed by those who were pledged through oaths of office and Hippocrates to serve, protect and do no harm.

Judicial practices plant these medical patients in cells designed for criminals for months on end and with no rehabilitation during this time of “mental rot.”

Subsidized housing offers protection from the street but increases the likelihood of solitary injecting in rentals that are not abandoned but largely slumlord managed.  

When any of these Medicaid reliant SUD patients decide they have had enough, they must climb what I’m calling “Medicaid Mountain” so as to get to their personal path of healing.  Most don’t make it as they navigate narrow ledge trails on the sides of this mountain through bureaucratic procedural obstacles and attitudes of supposed professionals who they encounter along the way.  

So, you may be asking…  What was that disturbing thought that I had earlier today?  

Given that the homeless men and women of SUD had already established their own Overdose Prevention Sites and were saving each other at astounding rates and given the low quality of care that these children of God receive on the narrow cliffs of Medicaid Mountain from the larger community, it’s sadly safe to concur that the current ‘cure’ for the problems associated with SUD in its addicted and homeless phase is much worse than the "problems" themselves.

[1] not in keeping with what is right or proper for the circumstances

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