If you could arrange for the following changes
in how our society serves people who have Substance Use Disorder and are
homeless as a result, maybe, just maybe, these sites would not be as needed.
mergency rooms, crisis centers, walk-in clinics and drug stores that
offer patient care services need to treat Substance Use Disorder patients with
the same promptness, dignity, and respect that they do all other forms of
illness and injury.
The medical and nursing personnel in too many such places have
forgotten or misplaced their copy of the Hippocratic Oath
upon which they swore or affirmed their careers.
This oath does not allow for an exception to
any category of individuals.
situations where a health care worker cannot provide care to a patient due to some
personal/ethical belief, they are obligated to turn the care of that patient over
to an equivalent health care provider who can provide the care needed and as expected
by their common professional oath.
The current process for receiving detox and rehab requires Medicaid
reliant patients of Substance Use Disorder who seek help to wait double-digit
hours before receiving proper care. I've written about this situation in this blog.
The end result in too many cases is that these people give up on that
day - and occasionally all together - in finding the help that they desired in that brief window of opportunity for healing.
ntil there are enough shelter beds and non-slumlord apartments within
which to house currently homeless patients of Substance Use Disorder, allowing
them to stay in their own tented communities saves lives.
As a condition for being in any one of these communities, it was agreed
upon by all residents that no one was to consume their medicine
in solitude within any tent.
The result was an amazingly low fatal overdose
In a very real way, these tented
communities were in actual fact grassroots self-governed Safe Injection Sites.
As such, thanks to the life-saving measures
provided by other members of these tented communities all manners of human
relationship with family and friends not living on the streets lived to see
leaning up a city block is something that we do with trash types of
debris. When society says we are going
to "clean up" the block of people dealing with Substance Use Disorder
and homelessness, we are equating them with unwanted debris.
A patient of Substance Use Disorder is equally human with that person
with ABC injury or XYZ illness. To treat
persons with Substance Use Disorder as anything less than human is to add
trauma to their preexisting list of traumas - the hearings of which would make any man cry.
These three examples are three among many that need to be and can be
addressed so as to create a culture of connection with these men and women
In so creating this culture of connection, we
can potentially eliminate much of the need for that Safe Injection Site
that you fear in your neighborhood.