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.


Monday, March 30, 2020

A Call To Action to All Private Insurance Detox/Rehabs to Open Your Doors to Homeless People Suffering from Substance Use Disorder


With so many aspects of this current pandemic to deal with, there's one way that private insurance detox/rehab facilities can help with the homeless and Medicaid reliant people who are dealing with Substance Use Disorder and addiction on the streets throughout our nation.

There are plenty of beds available.  There are a surprising number of homeless folks who would go to detox if they knew they would not have to wait double-digit hours for service.  This wait time is often the deal-breaker in seeking medical care for their Substance Use Disorder.

The payments for service offered by the Medicaid system prevent private insurance facilities from offering services to this population of people who are equally deserving of being healed. 

Can something be worked out with these private insurance facilities to encourage/compel them to provide services?  In so doing:

  • Men and women who are extra vulnerable to contracting coronavirus may be navigated away from that danger.
  • Stress will be taken off of the system that is trying to find basic housing for them.
  • Detoxification and healing may actually be found for people who would otherwise continue suffering.
  • Children may actually get their Mom or Dad back rather than going to their funeral and asking:  "Why is my Mommy/Daddy sleeping in that box?" - a painful thing to witness.

 Anything that can be done across our nation would be helpful in this regard.

Thanks for reading this.

Sincerely,

Chris

PS: Stay safe!

(The preceding is a generalized version of a letter that I have recently sent to a Pennsylvania Senator.)

If you agree with this concept, please share it with your social media groups and local/regional representatives.  Thank you.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Song Sheet in a Pandemic

I started creating "Song Sheets" for distribution to the wonderful people currently living on the streets of Kensington, in June of 2018.  I chose songs that addressed through contemporary Christian wording and music answers to thoughts and agonies shared by these people as they opened their lives to me.

It's not unusual to hear someone say that they save all of these sheets or that they don't need water or a banana[1] but do want the most recent song sheet.  These moments always make me smile…

There's another aspect of these sheets that seems to be appreciated.  By sharing lyrics based on God's Word and doing so through a song, people who might not be otherwise open to the message of Christ are a bit more likely to be open.[2],[3]

With all that's going on in our world right now, people are asking questions regarding the current situation and wondering what's next. 

I don't pretend to have any insider information that isn't available to anyone else.  Earlier this morning, I found this song[4] with its lyrics that jumped out and begged to be read, pondered, prayed about and considered for action.

The King Is Coming

The marketplace is empty
No more traffic in the streets
All the builders' tools are silent
No more time to harvest wheat
Busy housewives cease their labors
In the courtroom no debate
Work on earth is all suspended[5]
As the King comes through the gate

O the King is coming
The King is coming
I just heard the trumpets sounding
And now His face I see
O the King is coming
The King is coming
Praise God, He's coming for me

Happy faces line the hallways[6]
Those whose lives have been redeemed
Broken homes that He has mended[7]
Those from prison He has freed[8]
Little children and the aged
Hand in hand stand all aglow
Who were crippled, broken, ruined[9]
Clad in garments white as snow[10]

O the King is coming
The King is coming
I just heard the trumpets sounding
And now His face I see
O the King is coming
The King is coming
Praise God, He's coming for me
I can hear the chariots rumble
I can see the marching throng
The flurry of God's trumpets
Spells the end of sin and wrong
Regal robes are now unfolding
Heaven's grandstand's all in place
Heaven's choir now assembled
Start to sing "Amazing Grace"

O the King is coming
The King is coming
I just heard the trumpets sounding
And now His face I see
O the King is coming
The King is coming
Praise God, He's coming for me
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Charles Millhuff / Gloria Gaither / Willam J. Gaither
The King Is Coming lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group


I'm not sitting here writing a blatant nor subliminal 'end times' blog.  My song sheets are presented to and shared with the readers as something to consider and to act on according to what they're sensing deep within their soul.  I invite you to do the same…





[1] The typical things that I share
[2] One man who I Narcaned before I knew him has gone from saying "No. I don't want your damn song sheet." to "I'll take your damn song sheet." to "Can I have one of your song sheets?"  J
[3] There's one side story that I've got to share with you.  Maybe a year ago, I was talking to a man on the street who I've come to know a bit.  He's very much part of the rough and tough crowd.  I asked him if he'd like a song sheet and he very firmly said  "No. I don't need your song sheet."  I immediately thought to myself that this seemingly frightening, knife-carrying, and possible occasional drug dealer is just not open to it.  He continued…  "Today is Sunday.  I'm walking to my grandmother's house right now where she and I will open up her old hymnal, sit at her piano and sing old-time hymns together."  That was the day that my stereotypical image of such a Kensington resident developed a crack.
[4] Seems to have been written about 10 years ago
[5] We are closer to these first seven lines of this song as being an absolute fact as we ever have been…  We are not there - yet.
[6] Hallways: Anyone who knows Kensington Avenue knows the resemblance that it has to a long hallway in a large building.  The stores are its walls and "the El" (elevated rail line) is the ceiling.
[7] Broken Homes: The number of 'broken home' stories on those streets is staggering.  It is often the details of those stories that led the person to kill the associated pain through  the use of 'pain killers.'
[8] This is actually happening.  People in jail for non-violent crimes are being released so as to cut down on a captive population exposed in this current pandemic.
[9] Several people come to mind…  The person so severely bent over (presumably) with scoliosis, the little one who loves vanilla ice cream and appears to be in her senior years and yet is hovering around 30 years of age, the men and women navigating those streets in wheelchairs after losing a limb to the infections of the street, the now-adult children born addicted who know no other form of life, those escorted/thrown out of emergency rooms by medical people who, in so doing, violate their Hippocratic oath, and more. 
[10] For those of us who know these people, specifically or in general, of whom I speak in the above footnote, just imagine him or her "Clad in garments white as snow." 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

So, you don't want a Safe Injection Site in your neighborhood?


Well, Okay. 

If you could arrange for the following changes[1] 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. 

E
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.  In those 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.

U
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 rate.  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 another day.

C
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[2] that you fear in your neighborhood. 



[1] Among many others that need to be made
[2] Also known as Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS) or dare I suggest it, using the same initials and in the case of a saved Mom or Dad, these can be seen as "Orphan Prevention Sites."