When did Drug Using Equal Acceptance?
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Missing the Mark
I'm have to apologize, I have totally missed the mark on this issue. When did drugs become cool? When did drug dealers become hip and when did drug users have a worthwhile lifestyle? I just recently saw a movie, House Party, in this movie Peter played by rapper Play of Kid N Play, is throwing a house party. He wants to invite his friends and the hottest girls, one thing that he does not want to tolerate at his party is the bad guys or troublemakers. He has a friend that gets drunk at his party and he says, "Why did you have to play the alchie role at my party!" in disgust.
The other party goers say to the young man before he drinks, "That monkey oil is going to mess you up real good." It is even suggested that alcohol affects your ability to have fun and enjoy the party, the drunk guy passes out during the big dance off. I thought, if this movie took place in the 90's then, when did drugs become cool? Has life really changed that much? So, I did my research and this is what I found.
Now in order to have a good time or loosen up, people take drugs or drink. Then, they become in this altered state and instantly become the life of the party. For them, drugs are like their spinach it makes them loose and able to do things they might not necessarily be able or willing to do if they were sober. This results in praise from other party goers instead of concern or protest.
Apparently, 8.9 percent of Americans age twelve and up are illicit drug users, this means that 22.6 million people ages twelve and up were drug users in 2010 according to the National Survey done on drug use and health. Some may not be familiar with the lingo, illicit drugs are illegal drugs, drugs that typical fall under that category are: marijuana/hashish, cocaine (includes crack, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and prescription-type psychotherapeutic used non-medically.
Illicit drug use is steadily on the rise each year since 2008 it has risen. The top three mostly used illicit drugs are marijuana, psychotherapeutics, and cocaine. When it came to the psychotherapeutic drug, the most common used ones were tranquilizers and pain relievers. For me that says a lot and the rise was from 2008 to 2010. For me kind of reminds me of the attitude during the great depression that led to mass suicides. The ages that had the greatest increase were 30 to 34 that came from 10.5 to 12.9 and ages 18 to 20 that went from 22.2 to 23.1%.
Also just like in prior years drug use was higher for men than women 12 and up from 11.2 percent and for women 6.8, which is almost double. Could this be linked to gender roles in our society? Also some of its highest users are from 12 and up blacks, then Hispanics, then whites, then Asian, Native Americans were not represented. This reminds me of an encounter I had with a middle aged man who was recovering from a severe crack cocaine addiction. I remember him saying, "Have you ever wondered how a man can walk miles and miles in seemingly 100 degree weather with a huge winter coat and not seem to be affected by it?"
Most definitely, I have seen many addicts walking and thought, oh my goodness they are going to faint and they don't seem in the least phased. He said that it is because crack numbs you. You take it so you don't have to feel anything. You don't give a care emotionally or physically, you take it to be numb or devoid of feeling. As I look at the stats and how the main psychotherapeutics used are used as pain relievers and tranquilizers. I can't help but wonder what issue/issues are they trying to tranquilize or relieve? The man's statement rings true in these stats.
I remember him saying, one day he looked in the mirror and did not recognize his own appearance, he said if he hadn't been looking and saw his appearance for himself he would not have ever guessed that it was his own appearance. When I think of how the drug dealer is a role model, the drug user is cool, drugs have become a way of being accepted from an adolescent standpoint through adulthood. There are these commercials all dedicated to advise you against drug use. There is the lady with the voice box which freaks me out every time, there is the meth commercials, etc.
There was recently a man, who under the influence of drugs ate someone's face and had to be shot to be stopped. How have we missed the mark? With multiple relapses that we can see first hand on television, where are we going wrong or are we going wrong? Is there ever really an issue that is worthy of drug numbing? I can not speak from a perspective of a user, because I am not. Are there addictive personalities and people prone to be drug users because of genetics?
I can honestly say I have offered as a chaplain care to some and encountered others, but I can not truly say what makes them try that first time and what keeps them coming. It seems to vary from person to person and story to story. I try despite my humanness to treat them as I would treat any person, I listen, try to understand, but I can only understand, but so much. I honestly don't understand when drug use has become such a normal almost expected behavior in our society. Drug use has been the cause of the demise of families, lives, friendships, relationships, and self. When will we as a collective walk away from it hand in hand, when will we decide enough is enough? This is a billion dollar industry, so the bigger question is when will we lay profit aside for life and see the human cost is just too much? Remember drug dealers that person you have as a regular is someone's mother/father or son/daughter or brother/sister, aunt or uncle, or cousin, or is it yours? When will enough be enough?
- NSDUH: Latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, substance abuse Data, SAMHSA, Office of Applie
Latest data on drug abuse, alcohol, tobacco & mental health from SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use & Health, OAS
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