It’s disconcerting to hear, from people on the streets …

By Rosalie Tirella

… that Worcester has a bit of a crack cocaine epidemic. You would think being one of the heroin capitals of New England would be enough. But no. It seems when you’ve got one, you’ve got the other.

You’re kidding! I said to a Main South pal. I thought crack cocaine went out with the 1980s!

Not so. My friend told me the city streets are full of it. It is highly addictive and it does serious, serious damage to the heart. He knows a person who has kicked heroin and now goes to the methadone clinic.

Horray! I said. Drug-free!

Nope, said my friend. The person just goes out into the Main South streets and scores some crack cocaine to feed the crack addiction. The person does this a few days before going to the methadone clinic, in order to give “clean” urine at the methadone clinic. It seems to work. Not one urine sample has come up cocaine-tainted at the methadone clinic. The person goes to therapy and is working with Mass Rehab.

I really can’t see this person becoming a productive member of Worcester society, yet the drug rehab system and our social services seem to carry that person along.

A bit of a farce, courtesy of the taxpayer.

But what can we do? Drugs are built to be addictive. Recovery is never easy, a one-step process. Users relapse and relapse. And all the drug use has kept them from experiencing the highs of a normal, workaday life.

No one wants to see anyone die. We want to save each other. It’s the way the human heart works.

But something went kerflewey on the road to recovery. Does Worcester have enough detox beds? Why can’t people who are getting government disability checks do something to earn them? Like pick up litter in the streets or make sure our war veteran memorials are clean and honor our heroes or help beautify our city and state parks?

In the 1930s President Roosevelt gave struggling Americans a helping hand. My grandfather was one of them. But he had to do a job, he had to pick up garbage to earn his government check. He was a garbage man. A G Man. A Polish immigrant, he was no stranger to hard work. He did his job well. Then he got a job at a textile mill in Dudley where he worked for the rest of his life and proudly joined the union, thanks again to President Roosevelt.

I don’t think FDR would be too pleased with the way people are ruining their lives, their neighborhoods, their cities. He was a compassionate man, but a smart, tough individual, too. He would be at his bully pulpit demanding a hike in the federal minimum wage. He, being a master politician, would make it happen, too.

But he’d brook no bull shit from drug addicts.

Attention must be paid!

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