As someone who worked in the mental health field for almost 41 years and as a police officer for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health for 27.5 of those years, I see the ongoing overdose crisis as indeed a crisis.
The latest in a series of pieces in the South Boston Online: You are right, it is much more than an issue, it is an epidemic or plague and it is killing too many of our folks, especially young people.
I have written on this situation several times recently in my weekly commentary in the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge. We can’t wish it away or say it is a problem for someone else not us.
Sadly, by now this drug issue has impacted so many folks, so many struggling families who do the best they can, but even they can be touched by this out of control overdosing that has become far too common and so often deadly.
The Charlestown community, like South Boston’s, is standing up to the challenge so many communities rich or poor have been witnessing.
It has become in many ways our urban Ebola. There are far too many victims and we can’t just wash our hands and close our eyes to what is tearing communities and families too apart.
We need far more education. We need to as parents learn more about what is happening. We need to love our children. Listen to them and talk with them.
There is no silver bullet. It shouldn’t be about arresting folks. Too often when 911 gets called, it is for an ambulance and sometimes the EMTs arrive too late.
It is not difficult to see what happens to those drifting away on drugs. We see these folks every day all around us, doing their junkie movers, panhandling for more money for more dope. I agree with Rep. Nick Collins, who calls it a “public health crisis.”
South Boston Online is correct. This is a new year, let us make a resolution where we live to be part of a solution rather than being a casual bystander.
As a good friend of mine, the late Charlie Ross, always said, “Keep on keeping on.” Quitting on this issue is not an option.
Sal Giarratani
East Boston