AS A PHYSICIAN, who treats and supports individuals battling substance abuse, I try to be available when the call for help comes, especially from those involved with the criminal justice system.
The call for help from John, a former inmate who has struggled with addiction and cycled in and out of prison, arrived via text from an unrecognized number. He went MIA awhile back, after being a no-show for buprenorphine to treat his addiction to heroin.
“I need your help.”
John’s struggles have always gutted me. During his last relapse, he wept and pleaded for a second chance. His begging was so visceral that I felt embarrassed about the power I had.