Everyone is feeling the pain of the homeless issue and the drain of addiction related issues.

A colleague emailed me today with his latest story of arriving to work early and stepping in human feces on his way into the office. Emergency workers were also on the scene dealing with some other health hazards and attending to what he referred to as the walking dead. Needless to say, the drama affected his mental state all day.

The healthcare systems are also being taxed. I was on a call a few weeks ago listening to the gains realized by a Canadian hospital system after redesigning key processes. When I asked if they were able to reallocate those resources to reduce their waitlists, they replied no because they are experiencing an increase in ER visits.

Addiction is a specific mental illness. We need to get the experts on the frontlines of this issue and remove the access barriers or we’re not going to stem the tide.

Hospitals aren’t set up for rehab. So what if we restructured rehab facilities for emergency overdose services and observation? They have the expertise and resources to really help people suffering with addiction.

It might not be the right solution but it’s a starting point. We need to challenge our approach to the problem because what we’re doing now is clearly not working.