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.


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."

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