On a private employees’ group Facebook page, an EMT posts a video of a man standing on a street corner, clearly on the nod, asleep on his feet. Another man sneaks up on the nodding man. He reaches back and then slaps the heroin user hard across the face with an open fist. The victim grabs his head and starts running blindly down the street as if he has been attacked by aliens. The assailant meanwhile has hidden on the other side of the street. The video is captioned: The New Narcan.
The video gets a few almost instantaneous laugh out loud positive comments before it is taken down by a board administrator for being inappropriate.
An EMT has a bumper sticker on his car that reads “I Narcaned your honor student.”
A first responder gets suspended for 90 days for a Facebook rant about how he hates giving Narcan and declares, “Let the s-bags die!”
When people talk about the stigma of being a heroin addict, this is what they are talking about.
Nearly every case where I bring someone back with Narcan, the response is “I don’t do drugs. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Addiction is a club not even its members want people to know they belong to.
A paramedic posting a video of a stranger stomping on an old woman laying on the ground with a hip fracture.
A bumper sticker that says “I CPAPed your grandfather!”
A paramedic posting on Facebook: “I hate giving epi to anaphylactics. They chose to eat those cookies without checking to see if they were produced in a place that processes nuts.”
In the HBO documentary Heroin Cape Cod USA, a mother jokes that when a family member is sick, neighbors usually bring casseroles. She has never gotten a casserole, sympathy card or offer of help for her daughter’s severe illness– an addiction to heroin.
Imagine the note:
“Thinking of you, hope Sally Ann beats the Dragon. We’re praying for you.”
I try to imagine a better world.
A video of EMTs giving jackets to homeless people.
A peace sign bumper sticker.
Facebook posts about volunteering at the local shelter.
A Go Fund Me page for a family devastated by addiction.
I look around. I have seen all of these things too.
It is easy to complain about the bad, but the world is full of goodness and good people.
I hope 2018 brings out our country’s best.
Happy New Year everyone!