We are all aware of the risks of teenagers experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Most of us have been there. We went to parties, bonfires, snuck away with our parents beer and liquor, smoked a bowl of weed here and there and maybe even dabbled in hallucinogens.
The baby boomer generation thinks of this nostalgically and with a general sense of romance about the days of free love, rock and roll and sticking it to the man. We may even think about the 70’s and 80’s and some whirlwind nights of disco, hair bands, hard rock and rebellion.
There was the 90’s mostly innocent teen drug culture of nirvana, black sabbath, metallica and a throwback to Jerry Garcia and the 60’s with the second coming of Woodstock. Or even the west coast weed scene of the day.
There was also the scary side of drug and alcohol use as there has always been and always will be because they are drugs and drugs can always hold a dangerous potential. There were massive crack/cocaine epidemics over those decades and heroine made it’s debut in full force and has only grown. Speed, meth and other synthetics, hallucinogenics, dissociatives, uppers, downers, overs and unders have all broken through and infiltrated our streets; polluting our youth’s bodies before they have even fully developed into fully-functioning human beings.
Of the last few decades, the opiate crisis has burst into an all out heroine epidemic that has inspired scenes of our Susie high school shooting up before the football game and over dosing on the locker room floor.
No, this is not the scene that we have usually been thinking of when we think about heroine junkies but that is what is going on people.
And the more ignorant and mean and nasty we are about it; the longer it has taken us to pull the veil of bullshit off from the situation and see that our youth is being exterminated by poison being that is being smuggled into our Nation from other countries.
Put this way it really pisses you off and takes some of the “blame” off the prepubescent child addicts doesn’t it?
We get angry about the chemicals in our kid’s school lunches that we seemingly have no control over.
We get angry at the idea of our toddlers accidentally ingesting windshield washer fluid because it looks like Koolaid.
We get angry if cigarette ad signs are at three to four foot high signs that target our kids eyesight.
We may even get angry when certain clothing companies produce jeans and bikinis for young girls that mimic the sexy curves of young women.
But we get judgmental, aggressive and condemning when we find out that a 17 year old girl started curiously taking a prescription opiate.
She may take it for a little buzz like the first time that you tried a cigarette. But unlike a cigarette; this pill doesn’t make her choke and taste like crap in her mouth. Even when a cigarette did this to us we pushed through it to be cool and see what the fuss was about.
This pill did not burn her mouth and throat and make her instantly want to vomit like alcohol did to us, (which we still pushed through for the buzz and cool factor).
No, this pill made the girl feel like everything was ok in almost every way. This pill took away any physical pain, filled her with a warmness, a lightness and a sense that she could face anyone and anything. She felt a little goofy and happy for the first time in awhile since she started having those awful things called hormones that make her feel so sad, angry and confused all of the time. How could this be bad?
And to make matters worse; her brain won’t be fully developed to understand the implications of her actions for another 8 years. Her frontal lobe just isn’t fully grown. This is no different than the reason that a three-year old will put their finger in an outlet and get electrocuted.
But still, we read the stories about teen and twenty something year old addict; even adult addicts who started that way and we get disgusted. They stole something, they were busted with a bunch of drugs, they overdosed again, they passed out at the wheel, they neglect their children, they can’t work, they can’t eat, they cant function because they are always sick or doped up. How could you do such things?!
Because drugs people.
Because drugs and alcohol are so much more dangerous for kids to play with then we used to think. Because when any kid pops a pill they are at risk for becoming physically addicted to it as 90 percent of adults who are uneducated about the drug will also get and then feel backed into a corner because they already dishonestly took the pills and now they are TERRIBLY ILL without them and they find out through word of mouth with their friends, through predators on the street and through the over-information that they have at their finger tips on the internet that they can buy heroine for about ten to twenty dollars as compared to the fifty to a few hundred dollars that the pills would cost.
They “try” the heroine just this one time to get them through until they think of a way to figure this thing out or tell someone. But they usually don’t figure this thing out, They just start doing anything they can to keep getting that drug. And thus starts a lifestyle of criminal activity that will lead to an early death if left uninhibited.
Sure there are a million other ways to get started. But usually it all starts with some innocent curiosity, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, real pain with a doctor prescribing the medication, friends and family encouraging them that its ok because hell, they do it too, a desire to fit in, etc. These people don’t just wake up and say, “Hey , i want to start poisoning myself and hurting everyone around me for the fun of it”.
I am not saying to simply feel bad for the addict. I am saying to have an attitude adjustment that may promote some solutions instead of just passing the buck at simply getting pissed off about how terrible this epidemic is. Don’t stop at the thought “Wow that girl who robbed her Grandma is a scumbag” or “Yeah those 19 year olds should rot in jail for dumping that over dosed dead friend of theirs at the hospital door and running”. These stories happen all the time. And we react with outrage and anger at the children who were really obviously screwing up and making mistakes as children do and making BIG mistakes at that. We need to start thinking in terms of “This is really so tragic, how can we help these kids stop getting into these situations that are killing them and turning them into adults that do WAY more terrible things?”. How can we help; not how can we hurt. Simple.
Get off your high horse and get your hands dirty. We need to pick up the shovels as a community and dig out of this shit instead of blaming the victims because it isn’t working. Blaming the addicts has not worked for the past few hundred years. The plague has spread. Blame the drugs, blame the drug industry, blame the huge crime networks that thrive off the sale of drugs that kill our citizens the same way you would blame the corporations at be that want chemicals in our food and hormones in our meats. But for the love of god don’t blame the children.