A television show in our area a few days ago focused on the heroin "epidemic."
It aired on every station and received a lot of advance publicity. Users and non-users alike watched and talked about it.
Did I watch it? No. I did record it. And maybe I'll look at it sometime when I'm bored. But probably not.
So why am I so cynical about this issue? Don't I care about the "problem." The "epidemic." Young people dying? Going to jail? Of course I do. After all, I'm in the recovery field.
But as a 75 year old heroin addict I also know there's nothing new here. Nothing to see. I've been watching this kind of publicity since the 1950's.
Announcers will interview police. Healthcare workers. Prison officials. Politicians. Parents. And, of course, for affect they'll have a couple of real live addicts who talk about their ruined lives.
That's it. The ratings are great. And everyone will chatter about how serious this is. We'll wring our hands and agree that we have a big issue in our society. Blah, blah, blah.
End of story. Nothing different will happen. This I promise.
At the end of 2015 there will be more young dead addicts in our cemeteries. The judicial system will be suffering from constipation trying to process all the addicts. The problem will remain.
The issue is that politicians don't have the guts to do anything about it. Punishment and criminalization are the predominant means of dealing with drugs. After all, tough on drugs is what gets politicians in office. Why would they take a chance on anything else?
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