MSNBC TAKES A SHALLOW DIVE INTO MENTAL ILLNESS

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Sadly, the road to mental-illness coverage is fashioned from similar material.

nicolle wallace
Nicolle Wallace credit: Abovfold, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Nicolle Wallace is an elite and excellent television journalist. She hosts a Monday-Friday marathon of two-hour news interviews, MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, in which she and her guests dissect the flood of political stories pouring out of the nation’s capital. Riding the crest of this flood for the last several years, of course, has been the Captain Bligh of American conversation, Donald Trump. Trump’s inevitable dominance of the daily news cycle guarantees that much of the expert talk will recapitulate what has been reported on previous days. This is hardly Wallace’s fault, and she brings heroic preparation, intensity, and palpable human passion to her daily goal of making it all fresh and compelling yet again. My wife Honoree and I are grateful viewers of her program.

Aware of her thematic constrictions, Wallace and her producers made an enterprising decision not long ago: they would embark on an occasional series of mini-documentaries exploring topics rarely or glancingly noticed on regular newscasts. Under the rubric Deadline: Special Report, these segments are being streamed on NBC’s affiliate cable channel, Peacock, and occasionally on Wallace’s MSNBC show.  

As Wallace explained to Variety, “The idea is to do multiple series and deep dives into single topics without overlapping too much with what we do on the broadcast.”

This is a rare and noble impulse, yet it comes with a caveat: when you promise to do deep dives, you need to dive deep.

The debut Special Report is streaming now on Peacock: the four-part America’s Mental Health Emergency. Three of the four interview guests offer a tipoff that the Report’s aims are no more than snorkel-level. 

Lindsey Vonn credit Duncan Rawlinson CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

These three are celebrities. Granted, they are celebrities who have “gone through a lot,” as the saying has it. Yet their presence as guests only reinforces the weary television trope that no issue will engage an audience unless a super-star shows up to validate it. The travails of Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn and the actors Rosie Perez and Taraji P. Henson, while clearly real and devastating to them, do not begin to embrace the totality of what “mental illness” means at the depths of its menace to human reason. 

The fourth-segment guest nudges the Report toward this level, yet it’s a faint nudge. Wallace interviews the estimable Shilpa Taufique, Ph.D., director of the Division of Psychology at Mount Sinai Health System in New York. Dr. Taufique is also the founder of the small Comprehensive Adolescent Rehabilitation Education center (CARES), which consults with distressed children.

I mean no disrespect for Dr. Taufique’s good work when I point out that her segment has the whiff of “obligatory,” and serves to extend the great “sin” of the Report’s first three episodes: the sin of omission. 

Omitted is any mention of the emperor of all mental maladies. 1.  It goes by several names: serious (or chronic) mental illness. Brain disease. The psychotic family of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder. No journalistic project that calls itself a “special” “deep dive” into “America’s mental-health emergency” has a right to ignore it. Yet they do, routinely.

The ultimate origins of this abhorrent disease are not yet fully understood by neuroscience. It is known to be partly inherited, a (relatively) rare cocktail of flawed genes that usually forms in mid-adolescence, when the brain is subject to a massive “pruning,” a replacement of outworn genes with new ones that will control the brain until the end of life. The chaotic power of these genes, their obliteration of reason and self-awareness, can be touched off by severe stress of various kinds. 

One would not know that by watching the four installments of America’s Mental-Health Emergency. One would be part of the vast majority of Americans. It’s possible that Nicolle Wallace and her producers are in the dark—out of their depth—as well. Serious Mental Illness is an awful calamity that calls up primal fear. It repels people who still buy into the medieval superstition that “crazy people,” “whack jobs” and “psychos” can shape-shift into murderous monsters. (Think upon the myths of Dracula, the Wolf Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde.)

This superstition, this bigotry, this denial have taken an obscene toll on society. Half measures and misspent funds drain our wealth. (Think of the homeless crisis and of the mentally damaged people in that population.) Political leaders remain benighted and callous. County jails, urban and small-town, are filled with suffering souls who belong in mental care centers, watched by doctors who can keep the victim stabilized with medication. (The brutal jail version of special care is solitary confinement, which increases psychosis.) General hospitals toss uninsured patients into the streets. Mindless policies such as the HIPAA code, which prohibits family members from learning the condition of a hospitalized loved one, remain on the books. Lobotomies remain legal. The manifold horror stories of psychotic victims barely out of childhood yet brutalized as criminal adults continue apace, as they have since the Bedlam Asylum was opened in 1329. Mothers’ frantic pleas for help, for simple understanding, continue to haunt my in-box and my dreams five years after No One Cares About Crazy People was published. I recall a long evening of emailing back and forth with a mother in Florida, trapped inside her house as her deracinated son pounded on the door, threatening to kill her.

And how has MSNBC/Peacock’s “deep dive” enlightened us?

It pains me to write what I am about to write, Nicolle Wallace. I admire you and know your intentions are good. But I am writing it out of mourning, and in adrenaline and blood.

Of Lindsay Vonn, who suffers from depression, you tell us that she “was the world’s greatest skier and could fly down a sheet of ice at 80 miles an hour.” You tell a panel of Today Show staffers that “Vonn was so beautiful, so vulnerable, so open” in the interview.

Tyler West credit: Kimmy West

I could get you an introduction to Tyler West, a non-celebrity who is also beautiful, vulnerable, and open. Or was. Tyler, who suffers from bipolar disorder and autism, languishes in a federal prison on an unsubstantiated charge of statutory rape, and for crossing the lawn to a neighbor’s house one night in a psychotic state, opening the unlocked screen door, and falling asleep on a sofa. He has been beaten by inmates to the point of brain injury; thrown into solitary; denied medication. I have called Tyler “a symptom of America’s broken mental health care system.” I have contacted lawyers, advocates, even a Senator, asking for intervention. No one cares. Damndest thing.

Taraji P. Henson via Wikimedia Commons

Of Taraji P. Henson, you report that “Taraji’s character in Empire was a magical, you know, iconic kind of woman. She was tough, she was strong . . . I talked to her for almost an hour.”  You continue, “They [the celebrities] don’t say anything about fame. Fame doesn’t protect them from any of this. And what they all said and what Taraji said most powerfully was I get up every day and try to get through the day. Rosie Perez made the same point.”

I could introduce you to many people who are incapable of getting up.

Rosie Perez credit: Joella Marano from Manhattan, NYC, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

You drew Rosie Perez out on her traumatic childhood. Yet the closest you or she come to a clinical diagnosis was to report that she suffered from “PTSD.” PTSD might or might not have led her into serious mental illness. We never learn.

I could go on—oh, could I go on—but I really do not want to berate you, Ms. Wallace, or to belabor the point. I think I have made the point clear. Serious mental illness, like a certain former president whom you mention daily, seems to be above the law. Or beside it. Or ignored by it. And ignored by most state and national leaders and journalists who might hold the malefactors and policy laggards and brutal jail wardens accountable; increase local mental healthcare centers instead of building new jails; develop guidelines for public/family education along several fronts—and ultimately mobilize opinion for the creation of a cabinet-level Department of Mental Health, which would oversee these and other dire, overdue needs.

Now, there would be a deep dive.  

https://noonecaresfilm.com/

THE FILM WEBSITE FOR “NO ONE CARES ABOUT CRAZY PEOPLE”

As many of you might know, my 2017 book No One Cares About Crazy People is in development as an independent documentary film.

Gail Freedman

The director, Gail Freedman, is expanding the book’s theme to include not only the story of my schizophrenia-afflicted family, but stories of similar families across the United States, with interviews by Gail and footage by her crews in various cities and towns.

This work-in-progress has great potential in expanding the story of serious mental illness, and in educating both political leaders and citizens about SMI: its unsuspected prevalence in the population and its untold costs in public safety, human misery and to our national wealth. Combating SMI is a feasible task, yet it remains crippled by the appalling lack of societal information about its causes, dangers, and treatment. The damage is compounded by the unconscionable negligence among policymakers, law enforcement, prison systems, educators, and even some psychiatrists.

Gail is forging ahead on this project—traveling the country to gather portraits of ravaged families and struggling victims—even as she continues to seek funding for the film’s completion.

You can help. Gail has created a powerful website, filled with information and links to glimpses of the families and experts she has interviewed. You can access it at  https://noonecaresfilm.com.

Please review this shocking yet hopeful documentary, and help Gail complete it and present it to the world.

CHRIST! WHAT ARE PATTERNS FOR? –Amy Lowell, 1916

I am wearily–yes, wearily–posting links to two recent pieces by the peerless mental-healthcare blogger Pete Earley. Below them I’m linking to an archive within the blog you are reading now.


Their common denominator: they are about young brain-damaged men enduring Hell-on-earth lives on the streets of America as those who love them–mothers, sisters–trudge on through the years, and decades, trying vainly to awaken the conscience of the–the what? The whom? The withered, laughably misnamed “mental health” systems in their states that are restricted by outdated boneheaded rules and by the soul-deadened payrollers who run them. By the distracted politicians who appoint those payrollers and promptly forget them. By the oblivious electorate that will never form a constituency to keep the politicians on the case.


It’s all part of a . . . pattern.


http://www.peteearley.com/2022/02/11/mother-fights-relentless-battle-to-help-mentally-ill-son-why-arent-austin-officials-helping-her/


http://www.peteearley.com/2022/01/24/warrior-mom-describes-pitfalls-successes-navigating-californias-mental-health-system/


http://www.noonecaresaboutcrazypeople.com/tag/mark-rippee/

Godspeed you, “Killer Mike”

An gesture of compassion, forgiveness, and hope at the dawning of 2022!

KILLER MIKE OFFERS TO ASSIST ‘MENTALLY DISTURBED WHITE MAN’ WHO VANDALIZED HIS ATLANTA BARBERSHOP

After his barbershop was vandalized by a mentally disturbed white man in Atlanta, Run The Jewels group member Killer Mike offered to help the man if anyone could identify him.

Killer Mike, a recording artist who is very vocal about supporting and enhancing Black entrepreneurship, posted a message on his Instagram account. He described his place of business being vandalized but used the moment to encourage others to “check on your mentally ill loved ones.”

Read the full story here: https://www.blackenterprise.com/killer-mike-calls-out-mentally-disturbed-white-man-for-vandalizing-his-atlanta-barbershop/

The Crumbleys, Part II

The school shooting in Michigan last week has opened up new avenues for thought and action, and re-opened old ones. We must not let this awful opportunity evaporate.

More than a week after the Oxford High School shootings in Michigan, the episode still bristles with implications that drain the will and resources of mental-health advocates. Granted, we are not (yet) nearly as overwhelmed as, say, hospital staffers in the resurgent Covid plague, though there is some psychic overlap.

School shootings have haunted our collective consciousness for decades—a hoary specter that still grips us with dread—but this case brings new horrors to consider. It was not just any old spree of classroom murders carried out by a mid-adolescent with a semiautomatic handgun bought for him as a Christmas present by his Dad on Black Friday. This one dropped some new elements on us—and managed to bypass an element of omission. Advocates and all people of conscience must grapple with them, no matter the tedium and the elusiveness of solutions. Our sanity as a nation is at stake.

So, what must we grapple with?

First, a recap: the 15-year-old shooter, Ethan Crumbley, faces 24 felony charges for slaughtering four classmates and wounding seven other people with that semiautomatic handgun lying around in his parents’ bedroom. The charges include first-degree murder and terrorism. Ethan was captured before he could turn his Christmas present on himself. This is relatively rare, as is the high count of charges. The terrorism count may be unprecedented, and might set a legal precedent. Or it might set a legal obfuscation: The Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald told CNN, last week:

“There is no playbook about how to prosecute a school shooting and candidly, I wish . . . it didn’t occur so I wouldn’t have to consider it, but when we sat down, I wanted to make sure all of the victims were represented in the charges that we filed against this individual . . . If that’s not terrorism, I don’t know what is.”

Well, with all respect, Ms. McDonald, it might be mental illness. More on that in a moment.

The most striking new element is that the boy’s father and mother, James and Jennifer Crumbley, have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. This fact turns the spotlight on the criminal culpability of parents who leave lethal weapons unconcealed and unlocked in the household. Its implications could be seminal. The Crumbleys, as media accounts have made clear, are appalling and stupefyingly negligent parents. There’s a lot of that going around.  

James and Jennifer Crumbley 

Here the “element of omission” takes center stage. Are the Crumbleys psychotic? Is Ethan psychotic? What is “psychotic”? How do we identify psychosis, and what do we do about it when we think we’ve seen it at work? Is this case an example of “shared psychosis,” in which some of the victims do not show clinical symptoms? What are the responsibilities—and the risks—of intervening in the actions of one who might be in a psychotic state?

These are old, wearying questions. They have been charged with fresh urgency by the bloody Oxford affair. Or should have been. After days of online searching, I have not been able to find an indication that any of the Crumbleys has received psychiatric diagnosis. I’ve found nothing but the most glancing speculation that serious mental illness—genetically inherited brain disease—was present in any of these people. And I certainly have found no serious, informed discussion about this possibility. And so the Crumbley story remains a missed opportunity at least as a “teachable moment,” a broad, ongoing national discussion on the nature of this beast. And on the policies—judicial/legal, educational, budgetary, and ethical—that scream out for rapid and thoroughgoing reform.

I am going to offer an example of policy dysfunction that I published in my previous blog. It was articulated by D.J. Jaffee, a disciple of the pioneering E. Fuller Torrey, who founded the invaluable Treatment Advocacy Center. Shortly before his death last year, Jaffe restated an observation he’d made many times in his talks and writings. It bears strongly on the Crumbley case:

“The law says we can’t do anything until after the psychotic victim becomes dangerous to self or others. As ludicrous as it sounds, the law requires dangerous behavior rather than prevents it.”

Credit: Database Center for Life CC BY-SA 2.1 JP via Wikimedia Commons

I cannot say whether Ethan Crumbley or his parents are mentally ill. A competent psychiatrist should and must make that call. I will say that telltale signs are blinking red.

There are Ethan’s notebook jottings, noticed by teachers: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” and “Blood everywhere,” and “my life is useless,” and “the world is dead.” There are his sketches depicting a bullet and a bullet-riddled body.

There is the now-infamous message texted by Jennifer Crumbley to her son the day before he shot up Oxford High School, after a teacher told her that Ethan was searching for ammunition online in class: “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.” And of course there is the fact of James buying that hideous weapon for his young son in the first place.

And there is the widely accepted thesis that if the rare onset of schizophrenia is going to occur, it typically occurs in mid-adolescence, Ethan’s period of life. This is the stage in which the prefrontal cortex is pruning itself of outworn synapses and generating new ones. If a genetic disorder produces over-pruning, an oversupply of normally essential chemicals such as dopamine can rush in and produce an imbalance that permanently damages the brain. (No thesis is yet seen as conclusive in the study of this affliction.)

Jurgitta, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The social effects of serious mental illness spread out in a widening cone from the victim through the family, the community, our schools, our political life, and the health of the nation. Mass shootings continue to be rare, but the debilitating dread of mass shootings is nearly pandemic. The cumulative costs are as under-appreciated by the populace as the nature of the disease itself. Ignorance, apathy, and fear continue to rule.

I have called in the past for creation of a federal cabinet-level department that would unify, critique, and extend policymaking in all these problem areas as well as others. Foundational reform of our disgraceful jails and prison systems, de facto catch-basins for the insane, for instance. Solitary confinement, that turns sane prisoners into madpeople and the mad into vegetables, must be abolished.

D.J. Jaffe disagreed with me about this. He felt that such a department would only add another layer of bureaucracy.

All right. Let’s add another layer of bureaucracy.

Mental-health reform is borne on the backs, overwhelmingly, of women: mothers of victims, mostly. Their advocacy work in the past twenty years alone has been heroic and sporadically effective. But these “secular nuns”—the phrase just came to me—are largely worn out and disillusioned. They carry on, but we must not depend on them to keep doing the trench-work that the problem demands. Our advocates need reinforcement—collective national reinforcement. Society must be made safe from our Ethan Crumbleys. Yet we must not let things rest at primitive blame and punishment. Humanity and moral justice call us to protect the mentally ill and to reclaim them if we can. This would be the most honorable means of protecting ourselves, and reclaiming our own souls.

State Senator Cindy Friedman Gets It!

Among the most infuriating barriers to mental healthcare reform is the indifference of policymakers. The mentally ill don’t form a significant constituency, in voting or in contributions. Thus, you know, nobody cares.

State Senator Cindy Friedman, a Massachusetts Democrat, has burst through this complacency. Working with some colleagues mentioned below, Senator Friedman has crafted an important new bill and shepherded it through the Senate. It is on its way to the state’s House of Representatives for enactment into law.

Massachusetts State Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). Massachusetts General Court, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


The ABC Act, as it is called, should be a model for every state in the nation. And it signals to reform advocates that they have a new champion. Kudos to Senator Friedman. And thanks to my fellow advocate Donna Erickson for the heads-up!

“The poison of knowledge”–and beyond that, to hope

Leslie Carpenter

Here is a glimpse inside the soul of an activist. Leslie Carpenter of Iowa City, Iowa, is among the very best we have. She has connected, and deeply, with people at all levels of public  service to implant her passionate agenda of mental healthcare reform.


She also immerses herself in the lives, the despair, the desperate pleas for reclamation, from ordinary people who see their loved ones in agony. She embraces their anguished stories and does what she can to aid and comfort them. Often, her efforts fall short, as most of such efforts must. And when fatigue and frustration overtake her, she confesses it, eloquently, as in this Facebook post. Read it, please, and absorb a hero’s account of how god damned hard it is for all of us.

Leslie Carpenter

Sometimes in the life of being a very public serious brain illness advocate, I have people reach out to me for suggestions for loved ones, resources, etc. I try to respond to all of them and at least make an effort to reach them, give them all of my contact information, and let them get back into contact with me. Not all do, but when they do, I try to listen with a caring heart and share information that might be helpful.


Recently, I was asked to meet with someone who has worked within the system who wanted to share information with me of several cases and system failures they felt I needed to know since I work at the local, state and federal level to improve mental health care.I just left that 2.5 hour meeting feeling filled up with the poison of knowledge of so many cases with adverse outcomes, due to not just gaps in the system, but active choices of key people in the system.I have known there were problems, gaps, and challenges. I now know some of the people who specifically have caused harm, and my soul is feeling overwhelmed with sadness and disappointment.I need to move forward with solving some of this mess, and I will. But for now, I am sitting in a random parking lot crying and processing and figuring out the best next steps.For now, let me say this:We need more people to go public with this humanitarian crisis of not treating people with serious brain illnesses and not paying for them to be housed in the best level of care where they can be the healthiest and most stable.We need to care. We need to act, no matter how terrifying it might be to bring this information forward.#WeCanDoSoMuchBetterThanThis

Documentary Update

The documentary-in-progress inspired by my book No One Cares About Crazy People rolls along. Here is an updated promo reel created by the producer, Gail Freedman.

Gail Freedman, the gifted and tireless producer of the documentary arising from my book No One Cares About Crazy People, has just revised and expanded the promo reel for the docu-in-progress. The new, riveting interviews show that Gail has traveled the United States on limited resources, eliciting personal stories from a range of afflicted people and their loved ones. She has also homed in on the unthinkable tragedy of the Rippee family of Vacaville, CA, giving us raw access to the ravaged Mark Rippee. Brava, Gail!

A personal note: the film now opens with my late son Kevin belting out “One More Saturday Night,” accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar, at age 7. Kevin was en route to becoming one of the premier guitar artists in the nation when he took his life in 2005 on the eve of his 21st birthday. Schizoaffective disorder.

I gave this tape to Gail early in the process. But I had not then listened to it myself–couldn’t. This morning was the first time I had heard Kevin’s child-voice in about 30 years.


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IF YOU HAVE RAGE, PREPARE TO VENT IT NOW

I am typing these words in a near-incoherent state. I am consumed with boiling anger that makes me want to scream; black despair; bottomless pity for Rebecca Distel Reinig, the mother of Joseph; for Joseph’s father, and for Joseph, rest his soul. I feel such contempt for the pigsty that is our mental healthcare system and for the hospital and the healthcare factotums who carried out this coldblooded deceitful near-execution. (A sack lunch they gave him before dumping him in the rain. A SACK LUNCH).

I feel trepidation on behalf of certain friends who will read this and feel stricken because they have also felt the sting of American barbarism—institutional and private—as regards mental illness. The Rippee family. The West family. Find them in my blog archives if you don’t know who I am talking about.

Yet I derive hope from the handful of heroes in this country who do not let their own exhaustion and despair halt their crusade: the author and advocate Dede Moon Ranahan, who originally posted Rebecca Reinig’s nightmarish account of her son’s fate. Others.

I know that many, if not most of you, being human, come upon my mental-illness blog posts and read past them. Not this one. Please. Don’t skip this one. Read it, Every word. And learn something about the hellscape that awaits just on the other side of the membrane.

From Rebecca Distel Reinig:

“It’s with a heavy heart and a sadness that I did not know existed in a human soul that I would like to share with you the passing of my son Joseph. He was found Wednesday in some bushes in Oceanside, CA. Alone in the rain. Still wearing the hospital gown that he was had on when he was dropped off by staff from the behavior health hospital on Monday afternoon. His death is a tragedy and could have heen prevented if the doctors and social worker had truly listened to me when I begged them to not release him to the streets. I told them he was gonna die. Keep reading…I will explain the trajedy of his death. His cause of death is under investigation by the San Diego Coronor. An autopsy will be performed within the next few days.He just turned 30.

Joseph Reinig (Joey) visiting Children’s Hospital

For those of you who do not know my son’s story, it’s not that much different than thousands of families out there. Joseph lived in transient camps in San Diego County with severe mental illness. We wanted him to live with us. In fact we took early retirements to move him and us away from San Diego 350 miles north to a small town in the foot of the Eastern Sierra mountain range, where I was raised, and where as kids our we would take our children. We thought taking him to the mountains where he loved hiking and fishing, that giving him a stress free life in the mountains and loving him up would “cure” him. His delusions had him convinced that living up here with us was endangering our lives. He was convinced that if he did not leave ” they” would bomb our house, kill us and put him in a cold dark room ( not unlike the padded cell in jail where he would spend days at a time in, naked in a straight jacket).

Joseph and his family at his high school graduation

He lasted living with us for only several months, and thinking he was saving our lives, he went back to the streets of San Diego CA. That was 3 years ago. Since that time his life had been a revolving door of mental hospitals, medical hospitals and jail. He has been hospitalized in behavior health hospitals 9 times this last year. Sometimes against his will, often times he would admit himself. Often times I would drive the 5 hour trip to pick him up, get a motel and would try to convince him to come home. He always refused. Stating our house would be bombed if he did.I’m also angry…that’s not even a strong enough word. Joe admitted himself last week to Aurora Behavior Health Hospital. That was his go to place. He liked the staff and doctors and they seemed to care about him. It was there 2 months ago that the psychiatrist determined he was unable to care for himself and referred him to the County conservitor office so his dad and I could gain control of his medical needs and help him obtain the long term help he needed. The conservitor investigator denied the claim because he did not meet the criteria of gravely disabled. In California the bar is set very high to meet the criteria of gravely disabled. I have yet to know of anyone being successful with that endeavor in california. Accept Britney Spears. Her conservitorship is a slap in the face to those of us whose loved ones truly need help.

Joey with his dad

Anyway..Last week Joey admitted himself because he was feeling suicidal and was psychotic. He would always call to tell me keep was trying to get help. He wanted help so badly. Last Friday the social worker called and assured me that he would not he released to the streets, she was trying to get him reestabluxhed with a care management team and get him long term housing. I stressed that he could not be released to the streets. She assured me he would not. Monday morning she called and said he was heing released and Gould I pick him up? I asked what happened to the management team and housing. She explained no one would accept him because over the weekend he had been violent with staff. I instantly asked her why would she ask me to pick him up if he had been violent? I begged her to have him out on s 5150 hold to buy me some time to figure it what to do. She was heading to a meeting about him and would talk to the doctors. I was clear when I stated to her that under no circumstances should he be released to the streets. I said he is gonna die of we cannot get him the help he deserves . She assured me they would not and would get back to me. She did not. I called the hospital to talk with Joey monday night, he was not there. Still no call from the social worker. Tuesday morning I called her. she explained that her ” team” had given him a ride to Ocesnside and dropped him off at a CVS pharmacy with his prescriptions and a sack lunch. I was in shock, hung up and waited for his call. He always called. His body was reported to the sheriff’s office Tuesday night but because of bad weather they could not locate him with drones. The homeless lady who reported him took them to his body Wed. morning. He was still wearing his hospital gown and still had a baggy of white powder clutched in his hand. He was steps from the homeless camp. the coronor explained that it appeared he got some bad dope laced with fentanyl. Although suicide and foul play have not been ruled out. What kind of crazy fuck places meth with fentanyl? Its deadly and kills almost instantly.I’m so angry and devastated I want the system to pay for failing him. I want accountability. I m so angry its consumed me. I dont want to he consumed. Yesterday in.my grief i called a wrongful death attorney and babbled like an idiot. I told them i needed an attorney with balls enough to take on the “system” and make the “system” accountable for my son’s death and the needless deaths of all the other josephs out there. I want justice, awareness , accountability and the laws changed that binds the hands of families trying toget help to save their loved ones lives . iI dont want his death to have been in vain. The attorney politely said they will get back to me. I doubt it.Meanwhile we sit here trying to figure out where we will come up with the money to bring our son home and have s memorial for him. Death is such a money making business and for a fee if $250 we can buy 30 minutes if time to see our sons dead body and tell him goodbye . …that is if he is in viewable condition. if not, for an additional 800 they will make him viewable.”

WE HAVE FAILED JOEY AND MANY OTHERS LIKE HIM by Rebecca Distel Reinig

JUST THE BEGINNING OF OUR JOURNEY WITH OUR SON by Rebecca Distel Reinig

I’M PREPARED FOR JOEY’S DEATH by Rebecca Reinig

In the Mental-Health Trenches With Three Valiant Mothers

Please carve out a few minutes and listen to these powerful, articulate advocates discuss the most overlooked social and moral blight of our time. 

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1604296/9101018

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