When I was a kid there were these hushed conversations about Cousin Darrel.
“I hear he’s living in the woods.”
“I hear he drinks all day every day.”
It was clearly considered more of a shame put on the family than it was a concern for Cousin Darrel.
I would suspect this is how many families still feel when one of their own slips away into the woods.
But when it happens to your daughter all the emotions quickly intensify.
I know that’s the case because the only parents of homeless that ever contact me (so far) are the parents of homeless women.
In these cases, the parents, typically moms, are terrified.
They are in a state of shock, disbelief and fear. The conversations usually end in tears.
Here are my observations of homeless women:
They go homeless for the same reason men go homeless. A base of mental health issues sometimes mixed with addiction issues.
Everything is magnified for the homeless. Their mental health issues are worse than average. And their addiction issues are worse than average.
Then, when you mix mental health with addiction everything becomes out of control.
While mental health issues seem to be nearly universal with the homeless, addiction issues are not.
Not all homeless are addicted. But almost all homeless have mental health issues.
Personally, I believe we all have mental health issues to some degree. So it only makes sense that all the homeless have mental health issues.
That said, the mental health issues of the homeless in general are more apparent and exposed.
So, there is almost always something going on that could use work in the head of a homeless woman.
Then there are family issues.
It looks like to me that family issues are more heightened with homeless women than men.
But that’s likely just a bias I’m getting because families of homeless men don’t typically talk to me.
Just the same, I often see a conflict with the man the homeless woman is dating or is married to. This often leads to a conflict that can’t be resolved with the family.
I could be wrong, but I don’t think this would be as big a deal with a homeless man.
Homeless men often report being violent, selling drugs and stealing. Homeless men also are often dealing with anger issues.
Homeless women also have anger issues. But homeless men with anger issues are probably more scary.
So, if I had to guess, homeless men are probably not usually kicked out of their families because of who they are dating.
Now let me stop right there.
I want to make it very clear that while a family may feel guilty about forcing a loved one away, you never ever should feel guilty for doing so.
The men homeless women date could likely be a danger to the rest of your family. And homeless men can just be straight up a danger to your family.
When it is time to demand a person get out of your house then get them out. That’s a perfectly respectable and necessary action.
It’s OK to kick a man or a woman out of your house.
The reason it’s OK is because they are going to be OK on the street.
At least in Akron, the street doesn’t kill people. Opiates kill people.
Specifically, Fentanyl and Carfentanil kill people.
These drugs are mixed with other drugs in random doses. The user doesn’t have any idea how much is in there and then they overdose.
It takes such a small amount of this stuff to overdose a person.
And now I’m hearing they are starting to put it in marijuana.
An Akron 1-year-old overdosed on pills and was revived at a nearby hospital on Tuesday, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal. He was given Naloxene and lived. Another Akron-area toddler wasn’t as lucky. Tymaine Thompson, 18 months old, died Sunday after overdosing on a combination of heroin, fentanyl and another unknown opioid.
There are an estimated 200,000 opioid addicts statewide, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said. That’s roughly the size of the city of Akron.
If a person dies that has passed through our facility it’s not because they are homeless it is because they accidentally overdosed.
And sadly, people do die. A woman named Lori who was staying with us recently passed away from a drug overdose.
This is a topic of great interest to me. While we currently don’t have any Narcan at our facility I’m going to be getting some if I’m able.
There is a lot of talk about not reviving people after a certain number of times but I do not believe in that.
All I have to do is think about my own kid dying on the street as someone with Narcan stands over him letting him go.
I don’t believe the first responders of a city can be the one and only solution to reviving people from a drug overdose. It is so prolific they simply don’t have the resources to do it.
But a place like ours could definitely help in the process.
Addicts are a great interest to me and I have no limit on how much I will try to help and revive them.
As far as homelessness goes, generally, homeless woman are protected.
- They stay with a man.
- They have a dog.
- They are part of a community that watches out for them.
Now, I’m not saying bad things don’t happen to them. But more often than not it’s the drugs that lead to these bad situations, not the homelessness.
And not everyone that is homeless is using opiates. They might be using another drug, they might be drinkers or they might be dealing with mental health issues.
So, this is my recommendation: talk to your homeless loved one, if you still have contact with them. See if you can help them get Narcan. If nothing else, they should have it in case one of their friends overdoses.
In Ohio you can get Narcan without a prescription. It has no other use than bringing people back from an opiate overdose. You can also safely give it to a person who isn’t overdosing. It has no other effect than just saving the lives of overdosing people.
You can go to this page and search on which pharmacies near you will give you Narcan: NARCAN® Nasal Spray Availability
As of now, I don’t have any personal experiencing working with Narcan. So I can’t tell you prices or how easy it is to use. But it’s a nasal spray. So hopefully it shouldn’t be too difficult to use.
As I get more involved I’ll report back.
So, as it stands right now, in Akron, try not to worry too much about your daughter being homeless. Chances are, she’s going to be ok.
The focus of concern needs to be more on opiates.