This is the third in a series by Tucker Carlson on homelessness. He is focusing on the west coast, but the social evil is ubiquitous. [I searched in vain for the second part of the series yesterday. If anyone finds it, please leave a link in the comments.]
In my experience with the homeless, the issues he mentions – mental illness and broken families – are all too true. The roots of those causes are deep and difficult to unravel. For those I worked with who were using only their prescribed medications, family shunning was common and long-standing.
Very often mental illnesses don’t show up until mid-or-late adolescence. When it occurs, families are not prepared to deal with the attendant out-of-control behavior; their child has become a strange monster. Send a teenager to his room? He’ll break up the house. Impulsive, destructive behavior escalates as the mental problems increase. Unprepared families have no idea how to cope. For intact families not riven with their own unresolved issues, things can be turned around but it’s a painful process.
One grassroots group, NAMI, has been particularly effective in resourcing help. This is not a government bureaucracy:
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. Today, we are an association of more than 500 local affiliates who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.
I found our local group and wanted to attend so I could figure out how to effectively help my daughter. She died of a methadone overdose the day I’d chosen for my first visit. I never had the heart to go back.
Meanwhile, back in Seattle, there are unexpected consequences. One is
As more and more American communities grapple with opioid addiction, the human toll of the epidemic has grown in both scope and severity. And now, scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have found evidence that drug’s impact has literally flowed downstream to affect marine life, as well.
Specifically, they used mussels as a barometer of pollution in the waters off Seattle and discovered that oxycodone is now present enough in the marine environment there for shellfish to test positive.
The surge in homelessness has many causes. The hollowing out of the American family is one. And the loss of manufacturing jobs which led eventually to the opioid crisis is another. When meaning is lost, people will find substitutes.
I hope Tucker Carlson builds on what he learns about homelessness in America. And I also hope he addresses, however briefly, the surge in the “retired” population, many of whom live in their vans or cars, moving from job to job.
It’s not just a California/west coast problem.