I am a person in recovery from mental health and substance use disorders. For many years, I carried a good deal of anger and resentment so, instead of addressing my issues, I turned to using drugs. Unlike many others, my addiction began in prison. It happened at one of the lowest times in my life, when I lost my father. Here I was, incarcerated and drugs were available, so I turned to the one thing that I always tried to avoid. In trying to mask my pain there were times I didn’t want to live. Depression was evident, but I camouflaged it with drugs. I was overdosing and only through the grace of God was revived every time by someone in my community. Narcan was constantly used to save my life. I was arrested so many times that I started to begin to believe that incarceration was going to be…
April 9, 1983.
This was the day Dickie Noles’ life changed. A Major League Baseball player with a nasty 95 mph fastball, Noles was a beast on the mound. But an addiction to drugs and alcohol was spiraling his life out of control as fast as his pitches. Multiple arrests for disorderly conduct were the norm for Noles, leading to far too many nights in jail and away from the baseball field.
And on that day – April 9, 1983 – Noles decided enough was enough. He hasn’t used drugs or had an alcoholic drink since then and life, Noles said, has never been better or more under control.
What’s happening along Gurney Street is something to be celebrated. In just over two weeks since the clean-up project began along a stretch of land owned by Conrail in the Kensington-Fairhill community, more than 250 tons of waste and debris have been removed and fencing is going up to prevent people from becoming injured on or near the railroad tracks. In addition, the fencing serves as a barrier to prevent gathering in the area where folks had engaged in dangerous and unhealthy behavior. In this instance the “C “word, collaboration between City agencies and private partners, has made the difference — the once blighted landscape is no more.