The Wonderful Husband of mine has been busy since retiring from the railroad. He's been working with a local non-profit organization to spearhead the establishment of an Oxford House in the local Burg of Wayne. It has been a labor of love and serves as a safe place for recovering addicts (drugs or alcohol) to begin their lives anew when they decide to.
Unlike halfway houses and rehabs, the Oxford model is a self-sustaining, democratic environment. Anyone caught using (random drug tests and room inspections take place and can be held at the request of any resident) has 15 minutes to pack up and leave. There are high standards but also high success rates for those who are really ready to get away from the "people, places, and things" of their addiction. I am really proud of all he has done.
This house (which is filled to capacity with six residents) has been in operation for the last six months. It took a lot of fundraising and volunteer work to get it up and running. There has also been a steep learning curve. The young man featured in the news article linked above had everyone buffaloed and was removed days after the article appeared. (Those heroin addicts can be so wily.)
Today there was a July 4th picnic at the house to honor the residents and all of the people who volunteered and donated to make it possible. There was also some irony. Police came to the house across the street just before the picnic began and took away two presumed drug dealers/users in handcuffs. A few hours later, two police cruisers and two ambulances zoomed to this neighboring house in what appeared to be an overdose.
I've got to believe that under other circumstances, this commotion would have drawn all picnic goers to the scene to gawk and stare and wonder and gossip. Instead all guests were ambivalent in a sort of "been there, done that" kind of way. Each one likely remembering Fourth of July's gone by when they were in similar situations. Someone joked, "the police are here, it's officially a party." Only this time they weren't there for them.