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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Friday, July 31, 2020

Reaching "Ready" Before Overdose Overtakes

From time to time, I must use some harsh words and offensive language so as to describe an event.  

This is one of those times.

Imagine being a young woman living on the streets of Kensington with Substance Use Disorder, fully addicted to some combination of drugs that have occupied your mind and body for months or years, being reliant on "dating" to support the financial expense of buying those drugs and then having on top of all that a guy screaming in your face on a public sidewalk as loud as a human being can scream: 

"You're nothing but a god-dammed, mother-fucking whore junkie!"

"You're nothing but a god-dammed, mother-fucking whore junkie!"

"You're nothing but a god-dammed, mother-fucking whore junkie!"


You scream back through panicked tears: 

"Get away from me!"

"Get away from me!"

"Get away from me!"


You try to escape and he continues in your face for all in the vicinity to hear and witness: 

"You're nothing but a god-dammed, mother-fucking whore junkie!"

"You're nothing but a god-dammed, mother-fucking whore junkie!"

"You're nothing but a god-dammed, mother-fucking whore junkie!"


You try to get away and finally do.  

You're shaking and walking alone and those words are giving a third-degree burn to your soul.  The last two words burn deepest as they are both derogatory words used by far too many people - who don't know you - to describe your current situation. 

The fire of those words continues to burn through you as you tearfully walk toward two men who do outreach work, both of whom you know.  One calls over to you: 

" 'Candice,' You are a fine and decent woman.  You are made in the image of God.  You are worthy of dignity, honor, respect, and love." 

You walk over to him, bury your face in his chest and ask to be hugged.  You wail with soul burning agony.  Too many emotions to describe create a flash flood of tears rushing down your cheeks.  The pain is beyond staggering and absolutely immense. 

After a couple of minutes, you calm a bit.  You back away.  You gather your composure.  You try to engage in some degree of pleasant conversation with the two men and then you turn and walk away.  

The next thing that you must focus on is to find in the next few minutes that the next date who doesn't currently know you exist.  You will provide him with some degree of sexual "service” so as to support the financial expense of buying those drugs that your dope sickness demands you consume so as to avoid its return.  

This scene played out in front of me this past Wednesday as I stood in front of an old Fidelity Bank Building at the corner of Kensington and Huntington Avenues.   


For most of my life, I've called Glen Mills, Pa. my home.  For about five years of her life, 'Candice' did too.  We both know of and have been in Elam United Methodist Church, Saint John's Episcopal Church and Chester Heights Market.  

'Candice' is not now, nor has she ever been what she was accused of being that day. 

If you claim Glen Mills or vicinity as your address then 'Candice' is your literal, actual, and factual misplaced neighbor.  She suffers from a combination of Substance Use Disorder in its active drug consumption phase and the gross incompetence of the Medicaid system of health care reimbursement to promptly provide detox/rehab to her with the spirit of dignity and respect that she deserves. 

'Candice,' and thousands of other human beings like her, do not have the private medical insurance with its higher rates of reimbursement that make it possible for her to make one phone call and be picked up to enter proven best practices treatment before half the day has passed.  

In the absence of proper reimbursement by Medicaid, the moment of being "ready" for treatment for people reliant on Medicaid must reach such a staggering level of hideousness that many people don't find it before overdose finds them. 

There's a simple solution to this death inviting issue.  

Medicaid must reimburse all detox/rehabs at a level equal to private insurance.  People who understand society's distribution of finances could easily rearrange available dollars so patients of Substance Use Disorder can sleep on a rehab bed and not a sidewalk nor jailhouse cot and visit with a nurse and doctor and therapist and not a judge and public defender and prosecutor. 

Once again, just as I did in this blog, I'm calling on all persons who have any degree of official standing within this topic to look deep within your realm of influence and  to work with others to make the changes that must be made so that neighbors such as 'Candice' can know that detox is one phone call and not more than two hours away.

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