Abusing drugs might be at the root of most of southern communities’ problems. However, we should consider drug abuse in its totality. Yes, alcohol is a drug and many people drink in their (our) youth to mask the pain and disappointment of not having the life they wanted. Everyone can’t be Miss. America, driving for NASCAR or score a touchdown in the Sugar Bowl. You plan and life laughs—get over it.
I think that college kids and young adults smoke weed rather than drink alcohol because in many cases it is easier to get. First Lady Nancy Reagan said just say no to drugs and she was so right. In the 80s, crack dam near destroyed urban America.
As quiet as it is kept, prescription drug abuse or doctor shopping is tearing up another side of town and it is time to talk about it. Secretary Colin Powell’s and Senator John McCain’s wives both had legal drug addiction problems. If you have a car accident and are in pain, these drugs will help in the short term. But, using them after the pain is gone is a mess. The body has a habit forming need or a chemical dependency. I don’t know all of the names of the drugs but it’s the stuff of mid-class women—the real desperate housewives. These drugs are currency in certain circles. Have you seen that show called Intervention?
Doctor shopping occurs when a person uses several doctors and the emergency room to get more and more of the stuff. One pill “as directed” isn’t the norm. People are taking several at one time or mixing them with alcohol for a dangerous cocktail. An article in my local newspaper features comments on the subject from an emergency room doctor who attended undergrad with me. The article says emergency room doctor shoppers are more likely to be White. I don’t want to see anyone hooked on anything.
Local officials should work with state and federal governments to determine and address this problem because it is costly to the healthcare and criminal justice systems. How much crime is drug related? It actually cost more money to put someone in prison for a year than the average person earns in a year.
Here is the kicker: the SSI disability program treats drug abuse as a disability. Huh? Is that the classic definition of a vicious circle because the money from “the check” often funds more abuse. What they really need is some sweet Jesus.
Getting to the root of the abuse problem will require giving people something positive to do. While most local elected officials will say that utilities and fire trucks are their duties, they must work to attract more jobs, support the local education system and tell state and federal officials that funding positive activities and treatment programs is spending a dime now rather than spending a dollar later on jails.
Lastly, marijuana seems to have pain management benefits but we should pump the brakes on legalization; the experts on this matter should speak first. We must remember that there was no real organized crime in America before prohibition. The trafficking of illegal weed is a big problem but legalization might create a subculture of mellow zombies.