Save the Children –
November 23, 2018 – Children routinely watch drug users inject themselves — and they also see paramedics race to reverse overdoses. Every morning, school janitors scour the playgrounds for discarded needles and other evidence of a homeless population in addiction that has doubled in a year. Some students deal with addiction within their own families, and are further traumatized by seeing people openly inject heroin and fentanyl as they walk to school. Some go far out of their way to avoid the drug encampments in the neighborhood, and are late to class. Many worry about “becoming a part of what they see,” a teacher wrote on her poster-paper list. At least the students at Kensington High are old enough to articulate some of their feelings. Lewis Elkin Elementary is a few blocks from McPherson Square, better known to local kids as “Needle Park.” Children so young, said principal Charlotte Maddox, don’t have the words to describe what they see and feel. They do know that the people they see are in pain, but the situation has become almost normal for many.