Sunday, May 23, 2010

How Do We Stop This Cycle?

A reader writes in of his frustrations about the scene that plays out day after day, week after week, across the street from his home:

"So as I sit and watch the local drunk sitting on the sidewalk getting smashed this morning at the corner of Montrose and Sheridan (across from the Jewel where they get their booze), I couldn't help but feel torn about what to do. After watching her get hammered for about an hour and a half and lying on the sidewalk harassing passerbys, I finally decided to call 911.

"The reason I am torn is because there seems to be no end in sight, and I am tired of wasting taxpayers money with calling the police/paramedics. When I spoke with the 911 operator I specifically told her it was one of the local drunks and to just send the police rather than the paramedics. The police showed up and obviously decided she was too drunk to just move her along.

"So this bring me to my gripe. She isn't going to help herself. I call 911 almost every single time I see the intoxication (for fear that one will step in front of an oncoming car and really cause a problem). The cycle continues. I will see her again tomorrow (or another one of them later today). I AGAIN will call 911 and AGAIN we waste taxpayers money by sending police/paramedics. Our paramedics/police should be spending their time on other issues and not babysitting people that don't want help.

"The only solution that I can see is to cut off their resources. Stop their alcohol consumption ... SOMEHOW! Our alderwoman has decided to be the enabler and to turn a blind eye because "crime is not my problem". But how does this story end? My guess is that one of them will eventually walk in front of a family driving to the local Target and cause a major pile up. Then there will be action. Then there will be outrage. The media will finally cover the enabling and there will be finger pointing. Until then, I guess I will keep calling 911 and I will say "I told you so" when it finally happens."


  1. where is she getting her liquor, cut off her source.

  2. Didn't we try cutting off liquor sales back in 20's? Seriously, what would you have us do? She doesn't want help and even if we forced her into some kind of program (which we can't) how long do you think she would stay away from booze? We are bound morally and ethically to respond( the Police are anyway) to her when she or someone else calls 911.

  3. Big Daddy, you are so.... wrong that she cannot be forced into a program when she is harming herself and the community. That's Uptown folklore, not truth.

    The matter needs to go to the correct court where the judges have the power, and the willingness, to deal with the chronic substance abusers.

    As of Jan 1, 2010, one does not have to be a family member to file a request for legal guardianship for someone. Any person over 18 can trigger an investigation by filling out a one page form with their own observations about why the person is harming herself / himself. The police can do it too. The courts have a special program that will force people who do not want to stop abusing substances into a mandatory treatment program.

  4. Ask where she is gettin the money to fuel her substance abuse and you almost always get back to SSI disability checks. But for the abuse of government checks, she and other chronic substance abusers in Uptown would not have the funds to be addicts.

    Crazy checks (for those who are mentalsolely because of their substance abuse) eliminated years ago. Yet, substance abuse is a big issue for persons who receive disability checks because they are disabled for other reasons. They estimate 40% of the disabled have co-existing substance abuse issues.

    The Social Security Administration put a designated payee system in place for those persons, yet, our Lawrence Avenue SSI office does not follow the program that federal laws mandate. Where a disabled person has a coexisting substance abuse problem, they MUST be assigned as designated payee. That payee gets 10% of the disabled persons approxmate $700check each month to make sure that the money goes first to housing, second for food and other living necessities, and then into savings, with none left for drugs.

    That is clearly not happening in Uptown, the land of the lost. We know that many of our chronics do not have designated payees. We know some institutional designated payees abused the system (C4 Counseling Centers) when administrators ripped off their clients and when they take their cut and hand the remainder over to the substance abusing disabled without any oversite. We know our chronics know who the bad ass administrators are and are so addicted that they are willing to be ripped off so long as some of he money makes it to them for substance abuse.

    So, how does moving drug addicted mentally ill and disabled out of disability silos (Sommerset) onto the street make this problem any better? It doesn't. Things will get worse with the new funding regime for community placement.

  5. I'm wrong? Am I really? Tell me what the success rate is for people that are forced into rehab programs when they are content to live the way they do.