Stacked alongside snacks and masks, Urban League workers hand out small boxes of Narcan, on the first day of a 30-day push to get the opioid-reversal medication to areas with higher rates of overdose deaths.
“This is needed,” Quontisha Parker said pulling her allotment from a plastic bag filled with bottled water and foil-wrapped hot dogs hot off the grill.
A singer and songwriter, Parker wrote a poem, If Heroin Could Hear Me Now, about her heroin use. She wrote the poem as therapy, wishing she could impose the same consequences on the drug — bruised veins, scars and incarceration — that it inflicted on her.
I wish heroin had feelings just like yours and mine.
I wish heroin had a clock so I could take up most of its time.
I wish heroin had eyes so it could see my pain.
I wish heroin had hands and arms so I could bruise its veins.
As part of their initiative, the Urban League’s distributing Narcan to area businesses, dropping off boxes to gas stations, and training employees on how to use it.
“When we saw the seven deaths, those are the ones that actually made it to the evening news,” Vice President of the Urban League’s Division of Public Safety and Community Response James Clark said, referencing a rash of overdose deaths in the Central West End in early February that resulted in criminal charges.
“But there have probably been 50 overdoses in a very short period of time and we expect more,” Clark continued.
I wish heroin had a heart because I would rip it out and break it.
I wish heroin had little babies so I could come in and take them.
I wish I could give heroin infections and fill its arms with scars.
I wish heroin had a soul so I could put it behind bars.
Working with Americorps and other organizations, teams are targeting three neighborhoods: Kingsway East, Jeff-Vander-Lou, and Hyde Park.
Neighbor Deborah Evans said the problem hits home. She welcomes any help since she often sees people using the empty home next door.
“I hope this summer I don’t have to come and sit on my porch and watch people do drugs,” she said.
As the crews continue their street outreach, Parker says these boxes will save lives, as she continues to fight for her own.
I wish heroin would half to know what it was like to lie and steal.
I just really want heroin to know exactly how I feel.