Skid Marks and Blowouts… by Rory Andes
It’s the signs of wreckage. Absolute carnage scattered throughout. It’s a mess and clearly someone lost control. What breaks my heart is the idea that when I see the signs of wreckage, the skid marks and blowouts, a chance was given to stop and it didn’t work. In my world, it’s the indicators of a return to the opioid epidemic that ensures that our prisons stay full. Here’s what I mean…
I work in the prison laundry. I lead a team of four men who sort and create washable loads out of soiled clothing. It’s terribly dirty work and far from glamorous. We service the entirety of the Monroe Correctional Complex to the tune of roughly 2,500 individuals and five institutions. One of these institutions is a holding unit for people who have violated their terms while on community placement. One of the biggest reasons people return to incarceration is drugs and when they come back, they often get sick. They will vomit and soil themselves, sometimes severely. The signs are in all the undergarments and it’s absolute carnage. The signs of a wrecked life.
But if they’ve been violated, that means they’ve been here before. Why not embrace the chance at change while here? Some do and I know it’s not that easy, but it speaks to what happens in the community. The opioid epidemic is so documented that I’d be beating a dead horse by hashing through statistics, but I can tell you that the ready access to drug use for incarcerated addicts is non existent compared to the streets. So once it’s stopped, how do we get get them to stay that way? That’s a challenge for you, my conscientious community counterparts. These addicts can clean out here, but we have to keep them that way. How?
I don’t have the answers. I’ve never been addicted to opioids. Perhaps I may be naive, but if they were able to leave prison with more hope than the hopes of an addiction to deal with a world that’s too difficult, they wouldn’t need to return to the very thing that not only destroys their lives, but it kills them in the short term. Whenever I see the skid marks and blowouts, I know there is wreckage of a broken life. Help support your community’s local efforts to give people hope. Get involved and save a life. I promise you that prisons don’t need to be refilled with people who’ve already been punished and released, who can otherwise be changed through hope and humanity…
by Rory Andes
Empower, encourage, support and work to change the opioid problem….
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