The experience of writing this blog has proven to me that as different as we all may think we are we are all remarkably similar as well. The problems and concerns that hit me in Boston are also having the same effect on someone across the world. Records gathered from police, courts and the medical examiner shatter stereotypes about who gets sucked into this deadly vortex. It’s not all young adults. The median age of overdose victims is 41. And they’re not the dregs of society. They are homemakers, professionals, students and laborers. (Patriot Ledger) . One person every 8 days dies of a heroin/opiate overdose in my area and the numbers keep rising. I am impressed and encouraged by the actions of a small Massachusetts town Police Chief. I encourage you all to share/reblog this story with the hope that the approach will catch on. There may only be small things that anyone can do but sometimes the small ripples create the huge wave of change. Thank you.
https://www.facebook.com/GloucesterPoliceDepartment?fref=nf or http://gloucesterpd.com/blog
Gloucester Police Department (Official)
May 4 at 10:55am · Edited ·
PLEASE READ THIS POST:
On Saturday, May 2, the City held a forum regarding the opiate crisis, and on how Gloucester has many resources for help. We are poised to make revolutionary changes in the way we treat this DISEASE. Your Police Department vowed to take the following measures to assist, beginning June 1, 2015:
– Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc) or drugs and asks for help will NOT be charged. Instead we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery. We will assign them an “angel” who will be their guide through the process. Not in hours or days, but on the spot. Addison Gilbert and Lahey Clinic have committed to helping fast track people that walk into the police department so that they can be assessed quickly and the proper care can be administered quickly.
– Nasal Narcan has just been made available at local pharmacies without a prescription. The police department has entered into an agreement with Conleys and is working on one with CVS that will allow anyone access to the drug at little to no cost regardless of their insurance. The police department will pay the cost of nasal narcan for those without insurance. We will pay for it with money seized from drug dealers during investigations. We will save lives with the money from the pockets of those who would take them. We recognize that nasal narcan is not the answer, but it is saving lives and no one in this City will be denied a life saving drug for this disease just because of a lack of insurance. Conleys has also agreed to assist with insurance requests from those who do not have any.
– I will personally travel to Washington DC, with the support of Mayor Theken, the City Council, Sen. Bruce Tarr, and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, on May 12 and 13. There I will meet with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Congressman Seth Moulton. I will bring what Gloucester is accomplishing and challenge them to change, at the federal level, how we receive aid, support and assistance. I will bring the idea of how far Gloucester is willing to go to fight this disease and will ask them to hold federal agencies, insurance companies and big business accountable for building a support system that can eradicate opiate addiction and provide long term, sustainable support to reduce recidivism.
I am asking for your help. Like this post, send it to everyone you can think of and ask them to do the same. Speak your comments. Create strength in numbers. I will bring it with me to show how many voters are concerned about this issue. Lives are literally at stake. I have been on both sides of this issue, having spent 7 years as a plainclothes narcotics detective. I have arrested or charged many addicts and dealers. I’ve never arrested a tobacco addict, nor have I ever seen one turned down for help when they develop lung cancer, whether or not they have insurance. The reasons for the difference in care between a tobacco addict and an opiate addict is stigma and money. Petty reasons to lose a life.
Please help us make permanent change here in Gloucester.
Whenever life takes a nasty turn I try to ask myself how did I contribute toward it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither a victim nor am I (any longer) the over responsible person who must blame themselves for everything. I just know that in order to change the route you must be aware of the place you came off the road, onto the bumpy dirt path, that led you into the swampy ditch. Then you can drag your muddy ass up out of the hole you find yourself in and never take that road again. This doesn’t happen if you don’t take responsibility for that first (or the second) wrong turn and learn from it.
The question is what do you do when you are watching someone else heading for the ditch and you can tell the hole they will be in might just swallow them up and they have no idea where they got off the road? You might think to jump in, waving your hands and screaming, “Save yourself” or “Watch out ahead.” Maybe you even throw yourself in the ditch a few times so they can step over your back avoiding most of the mud. But then how will they ever learn to change the route?
Sometimes, as painful and dangerous as it feels, the only answer is to let go and detach with love, standing to the side while letting your heart fly from your chest, into the ditch, and hope that somehow all the love you have in it will provide the strength to that lost soul to get back on the road that leads somewhere better.
The three things I cannot change are the past, the truth and you.