It's not about what's right or wrong. It's about saving lives.
Heroin. It's been a word that slips from my lips over and over. It's a drug that's been a part of my life since I was a teenager. I've never done heroin. I never will, but many of those who I have known and loved have. Some of them lived, some of them died, but all of their lives had meaning.
My friend Jess is the overdose prevention coordinator at the Cambridge Needle Exchange. She works with addicts on a daily basis, creating programs, setting up therapy sessions, and supplying clean needles to those in need. She works hard at this and does a fantastic job. She is also the person my book Blood and Pudding is dedicated to. Tuesday evening she posted she had lost a young girl to an overdose. She's seen it time and time again but it never gets easier. She knows this, I know this, and you know this. You want to help, you make progress, and sometimes things happen. It will always hurt.
Seeing that update broke my heart. But underneath that update was something truly heartwarming. A woman commented that she was sorry for the young girls overdose and spoke that she was grateful in her own life for making it through, with the help of Jess's program. Jess works long hours, she's creating a publication for addicts to tell their stories. She cares, she's interested, and she connects. She knows what they have gone through and what they are going through; which is why it is so important to have an organization like the Needle Exchange.
Please look into the programs offered at your local Needle Exchange. If you don't have one, suggest one, donations of time or money are always appreciated.
If you live in NYC the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center info can be found here.