Cover, Dec. 18: “Sea of Blues”
Complicated and Heroic
I’m a retired firefighter after 26 years, seven years working in the City Of Santa Fe Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Health Office. The article “Sea of Blues” describes the waters I have been swimming in for the last seven years, I have personally followed up with hundreds of opiate overdose survivors in the City of Santa Fe. It has been the most meaningful part of my 26 years as a firefighter. Wading into the dangerous waters of the opiate epidemic seemed just like wading into flood waters to rescue stranded people, in other words, not a fire but very much in alignment with the mission of the Fire Department.
I am humbled by the strength of the people I met doing overdose follow-ups and I am proud to have been a part of the amazing people who are firefighters in our community.
Reluctantly, I have come to the conclusion that the Fire Department is not the place to primarily invest resources related to behavioral health response. This is not a direct attack on the fire service, rather a realization that behavioral health response is at least as complicated and heroic as fighting fire or being a police officer.
Because it does not make sense to have the Fire Chief be in charge of the Police Department it does not make sense for behavioral health response to be under either the police chief or the fire chief. This crisis needs a department of its own.
Ramos T Sosie, Santa Fe
Morning Word, Nov. 6:
To the End
Back on Nov. 6, you closed your Morning Word column with a mention of the Mark Rothko exhibit in Paris. Having already booked a France Christmas Market trip, we added it to our Paris schedule. Excitedly. Just wanted to send you a note of thanks for what turned out to be one of the highlights of an overall pretty splendid trip. It was even better than the hype. If you hadn’t mentioned it and I hadn’t read your column to the very end, we likely would’ve missed out. So high praise to you and to me, I guess.
And thanks again for generally keeping up on all matters large and small.
Don Richardson, Santa Fe