This statement floats around on social media quite frequently. While it is a simple statement, I think it belies a societal problem. It is so prevalent that I have even heard some people try to make this argument. My response to this argument is always the same and I think about it this way:
If an ambulance or the police are called when someone has experienced an overdose and Narcan is administered to save their life, what makes anyone think it’s free? Is it free if the same are called when someone is deathly allergic to bees and an epipen is administered? Is it free if the same are called and someone is in a diabetic coma and insulin is administered? It’s not free. I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived in this country long enough to know that nothing is free. If you are in emergency need of medical care, that’s what you get. But you also get a bill for that care. I can’t understand what makes anyone believe it would be free. Of course if you’re lucky you have quality health insurance which picks up a good portion of your costs, but that isn’t free either.
It seems that everywhere you look these days, people are quick to judge others. Their illnesses, their appearances, their choices, there are always negative and judgemental people around who really have no idea of individual stories. Everyone has a story. People don’t grow up thinking they are going to be an addict, an alcoholic or suffer from physical or mental illness. Look around long enough and you’ll be able to see what’s happened and why our country, our state and our community is how it is.
Yesterday it was reported by several news organizations that there was a Covid-19 outbreak at the Aroostook County Jail. While this concerns me because someone I love is there and having spoke with him earlier in the day neither he nor myself were informed of the possible situation. What truly enrages me is some responses to the story. There are those saying things like, “Good” and “Good place for it, the druggie can get a taste of what they do to other” and “Who cares.” Clearly these responses are indicative of exactly the kind of problem I have been speaking of. They are asinine and judgemental and while many are currently incarcerated on drug charges not all. However, here is the “County” problem with this.
Aroostook County Jail is the only rehab facility we have. It is where we put those with addictions to “recover.” This recovery is experienced alone without appropriate medical supervision and even those who are there to protect are judgemental and are quick to share demeaning comments and actions against someone who is just trying to make it through the first few weeks of withdrawal. The only real funding we available to help those with addiction disorders is for the criminal justice system. Is this exclusive to the County? No, it’s actually nationwide. Our response to the drug epidemic is to arrest and incarcerate instead of understand and treat.
I know there are those who would disagree and I’m fine with that. Everyone has an opinion. What I’m not fine with is demeaning comments to those we don’t understand. I think if you don’t understand something and you are incapable of compassion and empathy, perhaps your comments are best left in your mind. My prayer is that those persons incarcerated be safe from this virus, that they be afforded the recovery help they need and as a country and a community we begin to realize that our war on drugs is being fought with the wrong weapons.