Could not having photo identification turn into a health liability? Apparently it can.
The Philadelphia Tribune says that As the nation's heroin and painkiller epidemic rages, small but vulnerable populations of homeless people are sometimes turned away from the nation's already-threadbare system of drug treatment centers because they do not have valid photo identification.
The problem is that you have to be able to prove who you are in order to get services, and the homeless population is often not able to sustain things such as a driver's license or photo identification. Therefore they are being turned away from getting the help that they need.
Which really brings up a much deeper question, which is: How do we fund drug treatment, given that drug addicts and alcoholics typically do not have good health insurance or expendable income?
One of the biggest problems in the United States when it comes to drug treatment is the fact that the quality of our health insurance is often tied to our employment. If you do not have a good job then you probably do not have great health care coverage, meaning that you will struggle to get the help you need when it comes to drug or alcohol addiction services.
The problem is that addiction destroys a person's ability to maintain steady employment. So in order to rebuild people who struggle with addiction we have to somehow fund their recovery in some other way, from the ground up. Inpatient treatment is not cheap, and this is often going to be the only thing that has a chance at helping someone who is truly struggling.
The homeless population has so many factors working against them when it comes to addiction and recovery. It is very stressful to not have health care, to not have any expendable income, to not have the resources that you need to make a fresh start, and to not even know where you might be going when you transition out of a treatment center.
It is hard enough to stay clean and sober, to turn your life around, to make a clean break away from addiction. But when you factor in all of these compounding variables that come along with being homeless, the odds become almost insurmountable.
Another variable that often is a factor is that of mental illness. Any addict or alcoholic who also struggles with homelessness is much more likely to have a mental illness on top of their addiction problems. So the odds become heavily stacked against such a person.
How do you address such a problem? How do you help someone who has so many things stacked against them?
It takes money and resources and patience. In many cases it will take a higher level of care than what the typical addict may require in order to get help.
So if we look at all of the possible solutions and treatment options along the spectrum, we have things that start out small such as a one hour counseling session each week, ranging up to daily AA or NA meetings, then IOP therapy a few days each week, followed by an inpatient rehab program of 28 days, and finally long term treatment or transitional housing.
Obviously if someone is struggling with multiple issues such as addiction, mental illness, and homelessness, then they are going to need the more intensive and therefore more expensive services from that list. You cannot just send such a person to counseling or therapy for an hour each week and expect for that to make any kind of difference for them. They need more help than that.
And a person in that position, in which they have multiple problems that are all working against them, is just not in a position to have the money, insurance, or resources to be to able to help themselves or provide for their own treatment.
Now from a political standpoint, or from the standpoint of our society and how we want to see the trends play out, you have to realize that there is a serious cost if we choose to not to invest in such individuals. Many of these problems such as addiction, mental illness, and even homelessness can be passed on to future generations if we do not work to correct the problem today. The more profitable path is to turn a blind eye to such problems and just to hope that somehow such people find the help that they need, but we can be fairly sure that the problems stacked against them do not allow them to have the best access to resources. If we want to fix problems such as the opiate addiction epidemic then we are going to have to invest in real solutions.
In my opinion the gold standard of helping someone in this situation is to get them into a 28 day inpatient program, and hook them up with a therapist or counselor there who can then assess their needs and refer them to the proper services. Of course the key factor in any 28 day rehab is what happens after the client has left and their 28 days are up. Proper aftercare is really essential if they are going to avoid relapse and begin rebuilding their life.
A strong foundation begins with treatment, but social support may be equally important. This is why so many recommend 90 AA meetings in the first 90 days of recovery. If you can plug yourself into the daily meetings and start learning this new way of life then you have a fighting chance against relapse.
One of the biggest hurdles post-rehab is the fact that a single slip up will likely spiral into a full blown relapse that removes any and all progress. The only way to really move forward and make useful gains is by maintaining total and complete abstinence. Go to rehab, build a foundation of abstinence, start seeking social support in recovery, and then dive into the work that will transform your life and make you into a better person.
That is a whole lot of hurdles for someone who is homeless, addicted, and often mentally ill as well. And when such a person cannot even get into an inpatient facility because they lack a simple resource such as identification, then the deck is seriously stacked against them.
We need to find a way to break through these kinds of barriers and make treatment more accessible to those who may need it the most. Healed people go on to heal people, and those stuck in addiction will have a tendency to influence others negatively. Somewhere, somehow, we need to stop the cycle. And that begins with inpatient treatment, made accessible to those who need it most.
If we are not helping the hardest cases, if we are not helping those who are addicted, homeless, and mentally illthen what are we really doing? Just helping ourselves? We need to dig deeper!
The post For the Homeless, a Lack of Photo ID could be Deadly appeared first on Spiritual River Addiction Help.