SMACK in the Middle: My Turbulent Time Treating Heroin Addicts at Odyssey House
In 1967, I was offered a job treating heroin addicts at a new establishment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I was excited because I knew I would be working alongside one of New York’s most determined, pioneering and charismatic leaders in the field of addiction treatment, Dr. Judianne Densen-Gerber, founder and director of Odyssey House. After a few days on the job, there was no doubt in my mind that Dr. Judi was a genius who possessed a rare, intriguing, and intoxicating mix of intellect, passion, and originality. With her at the helm, Odyssey House was a living, breathing, growing addiction treatment center. It was a dream job. Even as her methods became more autocratic and bizarre, and even as my dream started to turn into a nightmare, I remained an active participant in Odyssey's pioneering ‘can do’ community, which was reflective of the spirit of the late Nineteen-Sixties. I guess I was too infatuated at the time to see that, like the decade itself, everything must come to an end. Sometimes by crashing.
- Mature Young Adult