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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Saturday, June 3, 2023

How many times?

How many times in our own life or the lives of our loved ones have we heard that a particular surgical procedure is being scheduled for a date several days or weeks into the future? Most of the time, the future-dated surgical procedure is future-dated because it simply cannot be done sooner than that date. There's a whole bunch of reasons as to why. 

When a person is waiting for a particular surgical procedure they continue to deal with the medical situation as best as they can. A person awaiting a knee replacement, for example, will continue to use their cane. Someone waiting for a bladder procedure might continue to use a catheter. The examples are pretty much endless. In all of these procedures that people engage in while waiting for their surgical procedure, nobody is engaged in a life-threatening or immoral, or illegal activity.

This is not the case for someone who is waiting for a bed in a detox unit so as to begin methadone maintenance or any other form of MAT treatment for their substance use disorder. The person may be 100% committed to the idea of getting off their drugs and starting a methadone or other program. They will be told that the wait for a bed to begin this procedure is in the range of 5 days. During those five days, that individual will be reliant on continuing their illegal drug use and risking overdose. If they live on the streets, they may need to continue their prostitution to raise money for their illegal drugs. They may need to shoplift to raise money for their illegal drug use while waiting for that bed to open.

There is something incredibly wrong with this system of medical care provision. I'm not saying that I have the answers as to how to solve this situation. But it does strike me as horrendous and immoral and illegal and inappropriate that our society requires patients who are seeking care for an officially DSM-5 recognized disease process known as substance use disorder to continue to engage in various aspects of illegal activity while they are waiting for a bed to open up so that they can begin the life-saving procedure 5 days after the fact of being ready for that procedure and getting them away from the drugs they despise.  (My mother would not be at all happy with that run-on sentence. :-))

So my point is this. How can we change this aspect of healthcare provision to the men and women on the streets of Kensington and other places who are 100% ready for detox care and must continue to prostitute themselves or shoplift to raise money for drugs they would rather not take while waiting for a bed to open?

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