A Quick Fix (Part One)

You’d think that a bill mandating hospitals to give heroin to junkies wouldn’t have a chance in hell of passing, but give it credit, the Hippocratic Oath is a powerful motivator. If someone comes in, pale and sweaty, near-delirious, his heart about to give out, and you turn him away and he dies as a result, are you not complicit in his murder?

Predictably, the bill was couched in terms like "rehabilitation" and "social duty", and I have to give them credit, Congress managed to get it right anyway. Some hobo coming in off the street looking for a fix’ll end up with half a syringe and then spend thirty days in a slow-burn detox program; by the time they’re through with him he’s got a job, a halfway house and a bottle of antidepressants pushing him back onto the straight and narrow. It was a classic bait-and-switch.

My Dad wasn’t some hobo, though. Give him credit - he already had a job and a family and a solid life. He was here because two weeks ago he was stabbed in the thigh with a needle when he was riding the subway, and he needed things to go back to normal. But the program said he needed rehab, and so he was going to get rehab. The doc loaded him up then went to call the appropriate authorities. In an hour or so they’d arrive, maybe with manacles or a straightjacket, and very calmly they would get him the help the law said he needed.