Congratulations to MFD EMS Officer for being honest, and straight forward about the opiate epidemic in Manchester.
Everyone who opened the email update from him Friday saw the following
Disastrous… dis·as·trous adjective causing great damage
Some people were surprised at the wording, and sadly some were shocked that there is still a problem because they have been denying the epidemic is still an issue. Those people shocked continue to be the problem, and are living under a rock.
MFD, AMR, and MPD team members on the front lines are not shocked at all. They are living it every day, running towards the people who are nearly dead, and bringing them to a stable status.
It is not the people who are running Safe Station who shocked because they live it every day at MFD and Serenity place. They are seeing huge numbers of people coming through the door seeking help.
At the same time there are people who turn to press conferences to make the community feel better. They paint a picture that the problem is under control, it is getting better, and they are doing everything in their powers and they are the saviors. They are the same people you will not see right now as the crisis/epidemic is hemorrhaging out of control.
There are groups of people who say “let them die” but when asked if they would let their own child die and be refused Narcan the answer is always no. A person who was an advocate of “let them die” was faced last week with a step child who was found dead of an overdose, and maybe now has a little different perspective.
I am NOT a First Responder and never claim to be one. I am a photojournalist who is in the middle of documenting this epidemic and showing how hard these First Responders are trying. I am shocked to hear stories about how they are still willing to give 110% even though they know the same people will be treated soon again.
I witnessed first hand the people of MFD and AMR on a blazing hot day working a unresponsive man while people gathered. After 6 Narcan he came around, became verbally abusive, and the First Responders busting their backs still treated him with compassion.
I recently was told in a one on one conversation about a person who has checked in to Safe Station NINETEEN times. He is “working the system” but that person telling me the story said “what if this is the one time he is serious”.
I DON’T have the answer and honestly I don’t think anyone does. What I do say is thank you to the ones on the front lines doing everything they can. I say thank you to people like Chris Hickey for being HONEST, STRAIGHTFORWARD, and BLUNT.
I am positive Chris will get criticized by some for putting the shocking email out but maybe just maybe it is what everyone needs to see. Maybe a little “wake up call” will keep from people being complacent and think it is “Rainbows and Unicorns”
Lastly if you aren’t on the streets of Manchester everyday and want to see truly what is going on unfiltered go ride with MFD, AMR, and MPD. If you want to see it even more unfiltered come for a ride along with me. A one hour photo op at a press conference, or ride along is not “being in touch”
As I continue to cover Manchester for the news agencies, I also continue to show the unfiltered world Manchester citizens are living in.
Jeffrey Hastings / email@example.com