C’mon Down and Shoot Up

February 12, 2018

Opioid Crisis

A photo taken in April 2017 shows discarded needles
at a heroin encampment in the Kensington neighborhood
of Philadelphia.
PHOTO: DOMINICK REUTER/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

 

Check this out. What you will see is a report that my old hometown of Philadelphia, PA. is getting behind setting up sites where addicts can come and do “supervised injections.” In other words, if they overdose there will be somebody there to bail them out. I use the term “getting behind” since the city is not going to set up supervised injections sites itself, but rather is “encouraging” private sector “comprehensive user engagement sites.” Services provided at such sites would include clean needle exchange, wound care, treatment referral, etc. By report in this article, some voices are in support of this initiative, others are rather vehemently opposed.

I am taking this rather personally. Check out the caption under the photograph, which reports that it was taken at a “heroin encampment” in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. I am repelled by this image, especially because I grew up in Kensington until the age of 10. It was a community that was middle class at best, but one where people would proudly wash their marble “stoops” (front steps) every day and send a family member to the local pharmacy every night with a cut glass bowl to pick up hand-dipped scoops of ice cream. Now this.

Bottom Line. While I get the rhetoric of this article, in terms of preserving life and lowering the city’s medical expenses, I frankly think this is flat out goofy. It seems clear to me that at some point, a society needs to draw a line and communicate to its citizens what behavior will and will not be accepted. Absent in this report, for example, is any comment on where the addicts will be getting the drugs that will be brought in to these “engagement” centers or where they will get the money to pay for them. Illegal drug dealers is the only answer I can come up with for the first question, and crime and prostitution are my answers to the second. 

Should we support, ergo condone, such patterns of behavior? Do you want an “engagement center” next door to where you live? I’m going with no. Your answer may vary!

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