This is not a tale about one lost person or family, rather many people in communities who feel worthless, hopeless, and some not really caring whether they live or die. It’s about countless people and families that have lived in or still live in ‘the sphere of brokenness’. Suffering souls shuffled around, begging to survive in dark shadows of rejection, fear, and a living-suicide that takes one’s hope and faith into physical, emotional, and spiritual war like none other.
Vancouver East Side Photos by David E Love RO COU EAST PPSIDE
The jails are full, the courts are full… not enough social workers to answer calls for help even though 360 million is spent each year. Bodies lay on cold tables, waiting for autopsies. Getting the picture of hell yet? Not so fast, this is just the first chapter of the nine circles of hell – a place unlike purgatory where you may sometimes escape from. No, it’s a place you find yourself in amidst eternal, dark shadows that torment the mind and soul… tears filled with stinging teeth and claws.
It should be no surprise that society has arrived at what seems like a point of no return … a place of deep, dark hopelessness. Control, power, and greed are the forces behind most wars and global conflicts. What is happening in our communities today reflects a ‘micro-war’ in back rooms and on the streets. Plotted-out areas are controlled by powerful gangs, bikers, and underground criminal organizations. Greed outweighs concerns about death and destruction. History is simply repeating itself over and over again throughout the centuries. These scenes of drunks and addicts roaming the streets, sleeping in back alleys and homeless people living in parks is not new. This degradation of humanity has been ongoing, non-stop in many third-world countries. And as long as this mess wasn’t in our back yards, few noticed or cared. Now it is in our yards, on our streets, in our schools, and in our homes. Nobody is immune … there is no vaccine, no cure, and little help for those in need of treatment.
Shackled to Methadone Clinics
It is what it is. Vancouver Coastal Health and East Side physicians may anger and disagree with this book chapter, but so be it. We’ll just publish a few excerpts for now. The majority of addicts say they feel like ‘methadone prisoners’ … not able to leave town because they must get to the methadone clinic every day. Unless their physician gives them three-day carry doses, there is no trips camping, hiking, fishing, or visits with out of town friends and loved ones. Vancouver Detox and some physicians used to help their patients taper and wean off methadone, but not today … which means the maintenance treatment goes on forever. One missed dose and you’re severely sick from withdrawal symptoms, vomiting, painful cramps and other life-threatening side effects.
Methadone has such a long half-life that quitting cold turkey without slowly tapering off, more often than not, leads to relapse, back to using heroin, laced with deadly fentanyl. Is the addict really better off when a physician convinces their patients to agree to a methadone maintenance program? In the short term, yes … in the long term for many, the answer is no. It takes about seven to ten days in a detox facility for an addict to withdraw cold turkey from heroin and be able to function again. With methadone, rarely does someone succeed in withdrawing cold turkey. It is near impossible to find a detox that will accept a patient where it will take several months to withdraw using a slow taper. It’s too expensive, time consuming.
Is it All about Money?
There are many East Side physicians that really do care about their patients. Quite simply, they don’t want to see more overdose deaths. However, there are many others that see methadone as a quick and easy fix. These programs are designed to help people who are addicted to opiates. Methadone manufacturers and their doctor-dealers are part of a billion-dollar industry that has spread to every community. For them it’s more profitable for patients to continue treatment for years or decades … turned into life-long consumers. They’re shackled to methadone, trading one addiction for another – much worse for many.