Jim is a homeless Vietnam vet who’s trapped in a Catch 22. He gets a pension each month, but due to extreme pain, he self-medicates using heroin, although he clarifies that he’s not strung out. And because he tests positive for illegal drugs, he can’t receive any pain management treatment through his veterans’ benefits. So he self-medicates and the cycle continues.
“They won’t manage my pain because I’m a drug addict,” says Jim (who requested that we not publish his real name due to some of his admitted activities). He gets his check each month, finds a hotel room for a week or two, then runs out of money and returns to the streets. And to places like a local homeless shelter, where we had the opportunity to speak with him and a number of residents.