As I sat on the open trunked back bumper of my car and conversed with Christine as if on a park bench on a warm and sunny day, we agreed about the true nature of the crisis in Kensington. Across the street, a newly assigned uniformed Transit Police officer was handcuffing and firmly guiding a woman to a location out of sight from our vantage point.
At that moment, I could not help but think of how miss-assigned that officer is as he interacted in his official capacity with this patient with Substance Use Disorder. I thought back to previous ponderings of how this section of Kensington is more of a patient waiting room where patients of Substance Use Disorder do what they need do to stay 'well' while they are waiting for that moment of 'rock bottom' or intellectual decision to invite sobriety back into their lives.
Speaking in general terms here, that handcuffed patient with Substance Use Disorder most likely comes from a childhood of some form of abuse. She may have been 'played with' in ways that would make your heart bleed with tears if you knew the details. She has sought detox and been treated hideously as was "George" in this blog.
One day, she overdosed on the steps of this same train station. She was revived by Narcan. She was taken to a very local hospital. She was told by the Registered Nurse to "Get out of my Emergency Room!" She's now dealing with Krokodil.
Family atrocities and professional neglect by representatives of Hippocrates are the foundations of why so many of these street-bound patients with Substance Use Disorder remain where we find them.
Christine herself told me in our hour-long conversation that if she could just go to a health care facility and get the care she needs promptly and respectfully, she would have gone long ago. But she knows as does this newly handcuffed patient that the system is broken and it's far easier to keep consuming and dating and risking all manner of health crisis than it is to seek help.
It's all well and good to have a security presence at this and other train stations along "The Ave." It would be all the better to have a medical presence made up of professionals who have vowed their careers to the ideals of Hippocrates and who will welcome each and every patient with prompt kindness, dignity, and respect.