The opioid crisis takes a toll on our human population. This man spoke to me of the aids that had been offered to him. He had the lead on an apartment through the Health Unit services and some of the Mission sites. Still the opioids were everywhere making it very difficult to stay clean. This man also made sure he was tested every three months for Hep C or other infectious diseases in order to reduce the harm to the community. He seemed very conscientious blessing me when I departed from the conversation. He also spoke with intelligence about theories of parallel universes and curved space. At the time that we intersected he did not appear to be high. He knew a lot about the services and systems available and spoke of how some street people suffer from emotional imbalances that makes it difficult for them to get the help they require. He also enjoyed writing ..something we had in common.
The Medical Unit of London Middlesex advocates for walking along with the people in need. One of the staff told another story of a young teen girl who had a baby and battled her opioid addiction as well. She was determined to get back to school, with support for her child, and then on to employment upon completion. Through the intervention of the Healthy Unit staff, she was able to get back to pursuing her education thus improving her chances of bringing herself and her child into a more supportive structure. On her own , the school had told her they had no place for her. What a travesty!!
In Pennsylvania they have sought to identify as a “Recovery City “. Many say this focuses attention and affirms the commitment to beating the drug crisis. In our own community the working committee under Dr Mackie identified the pillars of building a better city, prevention, treatment, enforcement, harm reduction. Positive and effective intervention depends on these four fronts and the involvement of all the services. Council works with constituents to foster harm reduction to the community and the individuals on the streets. Support from municipality is essential. The Council had already agreed, thanks to the last meeting, to an affirmation of the working group that conducts research and implements measures such as Supervised Consumption sites and HIV outreach services. A stronger liaison between the working group, with Dr Mackie and the Council ,has been forged, an important continuing step. In 2013 , when Dr Mackie first arrived, there was not existing conversation on harm reduction. Since then , progess had been made just in time for the introduction of higher levels of heroine entering the community. The role of public consultation for finding solution and people power need not be underestimated. The supervised consumption initiative follows 6 basic principle that tie in to the four pillars. 1. Federal Exemption 2. Clean Environment and Equipment 3. Nurses present 4. Naloxone 5. Link to other Services. 6. Chill room,, place to rest or remain during the “high” also protects the community and the user from abuse during the high. Recently clean up teams pulled 100 needles out of a 1/2 mile stretch of the Thames River. Police assure us that “we will not arrest our way out of this problem.” Often times the drug trade simply relocates up the street or to another part of time when enforcement measures are the only solution. Working with police services on the pillars is core as no one service will intervene effectively without the others. Go team!! found in the wall.
A multiple level, multiple service approach could bring down the wall, arrest barriers for people. The Hope.