Suddenly, opium is back in the news, well really not opium but its refined version – heroin. The media and politicians seem to be abuzz with a new outbreak (spike) of opiate deaths in America, as if this was some new disease we must rally and treat. For the record, what I know about heroin and other opiates wouldn’t fill a thimble, but I do know about addiction; and the impact it has on the life of the addict and those around him or her. My Senator, Marco Rubio, posted on Facebook he was being briefed by the DEA, and he has met with the Mayor of Pensacola and Sheriff of Escambia County to discuss the opioid crisis here in Florida. He said there were too many deaths. I wonder how many is acceptable?
I don’t think I am hard hearted about this, but the dangers of drug use are no secret, even to the youngest potential users. We don’t hear much about heroin when the threat is to our minorities or inner city young, but let it spread to the ‘burbs and it is “Annie bar the door.” The reality is most young people believe themselves to be indestructible and immune to the laws of nature, which means most addicts move willingly into that world, either through simple choice or enticement by their peers. In that aspect, they are not innocent victims, and it is only in retrospect they regret their decision, seek help and recovery, or they die.
This drug crisis in America seems to be a routine occurrence, about every three years or so, or when the news media, or the politicians need to divert attention from something. In this case, it would seem to be the conservative press and politicians who are raising this threat as a national crisis, because ABCNNBCBS has better stuff to amuse the public with (i.e. the sins of Trump).
Someone pointed out a few days back that our engagement in Afghanistan is now our longest running war. Sorry, but I have to disagree. Our “war on drugs,” has run far longer, and yet with remarkably similar success. The war on "Terror," and the war on "Drugs" share a couple of similarities that lead to similar outcomes.
Both terrorist cells and drug cartels target the weakest and most vulnerable, and because of their ubiquitous nature the government is ill equipped to stop them outright. It is akin to playing a “whack a mole” game. When a head pops up you hit it, but there are always another dozen waiting to take its place.
There is no shortage of opinions on how we should target the enemy and solve the problem. Each new campaign meets with initial success the leadership can feel good about, but as the enemy adapts or the political interest wains the campaign slowly draws to a close.
Finally, in both cases, as long as there is a population willing to tolerate the existence of the group, and not raise up at the grassroots level, the drug cartels and terrorists will continue to exploit society and kill our citizens.
The best advice on drugs comes from a blues classic. “Mothers, tell your children not to do what I have done.” Unfortunately, too few children listen to this advice.