Lexie was evicted from his flat some years ago because he allowed the smalltime drug-dealers who preyed upon his addictions to ply their trade in it, and was so famous for aggressive begging that when he was banned from two of Cambridge's thoroughfares it made the front page of a local newspaper. So why am I writing his obituary?
Because when you got to know him, you could see that substance use had not completely effaced his humanity. For example, when his banning order was published, a woman, a senior citizen, wrote into the same paper recalling how Lexie had always helped her across one of the roads he was banned from, it being notoriously difficult to cross.
There's been much opposition to individual and collective banning orders from the more liberal element in Cambridge, but it was the making of Lexie, because he had much less opportunity to bump into the people he scored drugs from. Another key component in deferring an inevitable death from organ-failure was the policy of the drug-agency he collected medication from, that if any alcohol at all was detected on the breathalyser, the medication was withheld. This didn't stop him drinking, but it meant he had to put the cans of super-strength lager to the side at a specific time so that he wouldn't fail the breathalyser test the next morning.
Unfortunately, when the contract to run the drugs-service was put out to tender, the conditions set down for bidding precluded breathalyser tests. That's another story; but the consequences for Lexie were that the complex machinery of carrots and sticks that mitigated the effects of his substance use upon himself and society was irretrievably broken, and his behaviour became much harder for the dedicated staff looking after him to manage.
What effect will Lexie's actions have on his life after bodily failures terminated the death that composed much of his time on earth? God knows. But it's very difficult to get into a situation where you're addicted to one or more substances by yourself - something the police in Cambridgeshire are showing their realisation of by differentiating less between big and small fish, and merely asking whether somebody is a fish.
In a society whose values are so topsy-turvy that smoking a cigarette in a public toilet carries harsher penalties than injecting heroin in it, I hope senior police officers will close their ears to those who enthrone rights high above responsibilities, and move towards zero tolerance of all drug crimes.
I pray that the Lord grant eternal rest to Lexie.
Two State Solution
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