Readability

Reigning Hopelessness

by baldilocks

A real envi­ron­men­tal cri­sis: it’s Rain­ing Nee­dles. Alter­nate title: Why I Stopped Wear­ing Flip-​flops in Public.

They hide in weeds along hik­ing trails and in play­ground grass. They wash into rivers and float down­stream to land on beaches. They pep­per base­ball dugouts, side­walks and streets. Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin cri­sis are turn­ing up everywhere.

In Port­land, Maine, offi­cials have col­lected more than 700 nee­dles so far this year, putting them on track to hand­ily exceed the nearly 900 gath­ered in all of 2016. In March alone, San Fran­cisco col­lected more than 13,000 syringes, com­pared with only about 2,900 in the same month in 2016.

Peo­ple, often chil­dren, risk get­ting stuck by dis­carded nee­dles, rais­ing the prospect they could con­tract blood-​borne dis­eases such as hepati­tis or HIV or be exposed to rem­nants of heroin or other drugs.

(…)

Nee­dles turn up in places like parks, base­ball dia­monds, trails and beaches — iso­lated spots where drug users can gather and attract lit­tle atten­tion, and often the same spots used by the pub­lic for recre­ation. The nee­dles are tossed out of care­less­ness or the fear of being pros­e­cuted for pos­sess­ing them.

One child was poked by a nee­dle left on the grounds of a Utah ele­men­tary school. Another young­ster stepped on one while play­ing on a beach in New Hampshire.

Even if adults or chil­dren don’t get sick, they still must endure an unset­tling bat­tery of tests to make sure they didn’t catch any­thing. The girl who put a syringe in her mouth was not poked but had to be tested for hepati­tis B and C, her mother said.

Some com­mu­nity advo­cates are try­ing to sweep up the pollution.

Rocky Mor­ri­son leads a cleanup effort along the Mer­ri­mack River, which winds through the old milling city of Low­ell, and has recov­ered hun­dreds of nee­dles in aban­doned home­less camps that dot the banks, as well as in piles of debris that col­lect in float­ing booms he recently started setting.

In truth, this is merely a phys­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tion of the inner crises of all too many. These peo­ple want to escape from real­ity, become trapped by their escape route, then become heed­less of all things — except for the next time they get a ride along the escape route. There are many means of being set free from this trap. One of them is death. In the mean­time, more escape, more death and more dis­carded needles.

The most sin­is­ter spir­i­tual com­po­nent to heroin and many other drugs does not inhabit the users, how­ever, but the providers. Even if all drugs were to become legal tomor­row, that would not change.

The ques­tion is this: what can be done for those who are caught up in this web? I think most solu­tions of the earthly vari­ety are already avail­able. These peo­ple need the Great Healer. Their inner envi­ron­ment needs to be made clean.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2012. Her sec­ond novel ten­ta­tively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Fol­low her on Twit­ter and on Gab​.ai.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism!

by baldilocks

A real environmental crisis: it’s Raining Needles. Alternate title: Why I Stopped Wearing Flip-flops in Public.

They hide in weeds along hiking trails and in playground grass. They wash into rivers and float downstream to land on beaches. They pepper baseball dugouts, sidewalks and streets. Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin crisis are turning up everywhere.

In Portland, Maine, officials have collected more than 700 needles so far this year, putting them on track to handily exceed the nearly 900 gathered in all of 2016. In March alone, San Francisco collected more than 13,000 syringes, compared with only about 2,900 in the same month in 2016.

People, often children, risk getting stuck by discarded needles, raising the prospect they could contract blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis or HIV or be exposed to remnants of heroin or other drugs.

(…)

Needles turn up in places like parks, baseball diamonds, trails and beaches — isolated spots where drug users can gather and attract little attention, and often the same spots used by the public for recreation. The needles are tossed out of carelessness or the fear of being prosecuted for possessing them.

One child was poked by a needle left on the grounds of a Utah elementary school. Another youngster stepped on one while playing on a beach in New Hampshire.

Even if adults or children don’t get sick, they still must endure an unsettling battery of tests to make sure they didn’t catch anything. The girl who put a syringe in her mouth was not poked but had to be tested for hepatitis B and C, her mother said.

Some community advocates are trying to sweep up the pollution.

Rocky Morrison leads a cleanup effort along the Merrimack River, which winds through the old milling city of Lowell, and has recovered hundreds of needles in abandoned homeless camps that dot the banks, as well as in piles of debris that collect in floating booms he recently started setting.

In truth, this is merely a physical manifestation of the inner crises of all too many. These people want to escape from reality, become trapped by their escape route, then become heedless of all things — except for the next time they get a ride along the escape route. There are many means of being set free from this trap. One of them is death. In the meantime, more escape, more death and more discarded needles.

The most sinister spiritual component to heroin and many other drugs does not inhabit the users, however, but the providers. Even if all drugs were to become legal tomorrow, that would not change.

The question is this: what can be done for those who are caught up in this web? I think most solutions of the earthly variety are already available. These people need the Great Healer. Their inner environment needs to be made clean.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!