Mary’s Musings

Working to end drug dependency

Posted:  Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 8:30am

It appears we may finally be on a path toward curbing the growing drug problem in our country. It will be a long and rocky road and it could take years to make significant progress but we can’t achieve our goal if we don’t take the first step.

Cocaine, heroin and opioids, illegal prescription drug painkillers on which so many people are hooked, have had a negative impact on thousands upon thousands here in our country and elsewhere around the world. Productivity has suffered with workers not functioning at their full capacity, costing businesses billions of dollars but the most devastating victim of illegal drugs has been the American family. Domestic violence runs rampant in many homes, thanks to the presence of a drug addict or alcoholic. Thousands of our young people, many right here in our own community, are growing up in homes where both physical and mental abuse is prevalent. Most of us can’t begin to imagine what some families go through.  These folks are our friends and neighbors, acquaintances, and perhaps family members.

Our jails are full of men and women whose only crime is often that they use illegal drugs, although in some instances the need for drugs has pushed them into breaking the law.We’re just beginning to wake up and realize that many of these folks aren’t criminals, they’re sick, and desperately want help. Proper medical facilities and rehab centers are in short supply, especially in rural communities; that needs to change.

It’s been encouraging to see that more and more police officers, including those right here at home, are concentrating their efforts on helping these addicts rather than arresting them. They’re reaching out with a helping hand, offering to point them in the right direction to find a cure for their addiction.

Our war against illegal drugs will be a real challenge. In addition to providing needed facilities for those who want to get clean, we’ve got to begin a massive education program targeting pre-teens and try to deter them from experimenting with drugs in the first place. We all remember that the drive to stop Americans from smoking began with education in our schools, and anti-drug efforts likewise need to proceed along the same lines. Statistics indicate that many young people no longer see cigarette smoking as a cool thing to do; on the contrary, they see it as a nasty habit. Our goal should be to convince them to look upon illegal drugs in the same light, and be aware of the real threat to both their health and  well-being.

Showing our young people the dangers of experimenting with drugs will hopefully make them understand that most of today’s addicts started off innocently enough, never dreaming what was in store for them.

At the federal, state and local level, let’s all concentrate our efforts on helping those dependent on drugs find the help and encouragement they need. What a different world it would be without drug dependency.