The drug overdose and death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the famous actor who died in upscale Manhattan. The children with painkiller and heroin addictions in middle and upper class sections of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. A new Caron Treatment Centers (www.caron.org) survey of their client population demonstrating that the leading drugs of choice of affluent women were prescription narcotics and heroin. A report out of New York that heroin dealers have tailored their operations to the middle and upper class (https://wwlp.com/2014/02/08/heroin-dealers-catering-to-the-middle-and-upper-class/). While those people that use drugs and those people in law enforcement that fight the unwinnable “War on Drugs” and those people in recovery from drug addiction are fully aware of this fact, it seems as though the general public is surprised to find out that drug addiction is actually in their backyards, in their schools and often, in their homes.
The overprescribing of prescription pain killers and the subsequent shutting down of pills mills that starting popping up all over the country due to greedy doctors and a need to fill the unquestionable thirst that America has for getting high has brought the country to a point where the supply of legal painkillers couldn’t keep up with the demand of those hooked on painkillers (or at least those pesky governmental and legal oversights made it difficult to keep up with it.) Thus, your middle class housewives and your adult children of the wealthy were going to cop heroin in America’s big cities. In certain cases, if the money was right or the demand large enough or you lived in places like New York that offered delivery service, the drugs would be brought to you. Drug dealing is a profitable game and the ones that succeed in the game learn to be flexible and innovative. Bringing heroin to heroin addicts doesn’t seem like it would take a genius to figure out that sounds like a successful business model. But then middle and upper class citizens start getting arrested, then middle and upper class citizens start overdosing and dying, then community outrage starts to build and people start screaming things like “WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!” And all of a sudden America is in the grips of a drug epidemic. Here’s a little secret if you didn’t know: America’s has never NOT had a drug epidemic!
At the turn of the century it was white housewives on heroin. Then in the 1920’s and 1930’s it was alcohol. Then uppity and uncomfortable white people said weed made white women have sex with black men and marijuana caused you to go crazy with “Reefer Madness”. Then in the 60’s and 70’s the counterculture was threat to their parents with the hallucinogens and again with the weed and the influx of Vietnam vets coming back hooked on heroin. Then in the 1980’s it was cocaine and crack. The 1990’s and 2000’s brought the influx of prescription narcotics like OxyContin and the designer club drugs like Ecstasy and Molly and Crystal Meth. Now there’s Krokidil and Meow Meow or some other stupid named drug that someone makes in a bathtub. Welcome to the last 100 plus years in America. But all of a sudden there is now a drug epidemic because heroin is killing our famous actors and getting our college educated children arrested? Please.
Addiction does not discriminate. Addiction affects the poor and the rich. It affects white people and black people and Native Americans and Asians and Mexicans. It affects Christians and Catholics and Jews and Muslims and Buddhists. It affects men and women and children. Just because it now is making headlines doesn’t mean it hasn’t been here the whole time. We are not in the grips of a drug epidemic in America. We are just in America and in America, people like drugs. And about 15-20% of the population are addicts or alcoholics. America will never stop people from taking drugs. America will never “win” the so-called “War on Drugs”.
What is the answer? Treatment. Good, quality addiction treatment. Substance abuse treatment. Treatment for addiction. Treatment for alcoholism. Treatment, treatment, treatment. Comprehensive treatment that includes components of medical treatment, psychotherapeutic treatment and social services. Comprehensive treatment that offers a good, safe medical detox. Intensive dual diagnosis primary treatment not only dealing with addiction but with and mental health issues. Treatment that looks at pathologies and environment and underlying causes and conditions and family dynamics. Quality continuing care treatment that engages a client. Treatment that offers a strong, comprehensive family program that not only educates the family about addiction but offers actual treatment for the family. Treatment that aids in vocational training and life skills counseling. Comprehensive treatment for drug addiction. Not slogans. Not anti-drug ads. Not adult preventative education (although certainly preventative education for children.) People like drugs. People are going to use drugs. Stopping people from using drugs is futile. But offering good comprehensive treatment for those suffering from drug addiction is a good start to making a dent in the overwhelming drug addiction problem that has always affected the United States.
Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive addiction treatment programs for adults and adolescents in the local area. If you or someone you know needs help for chemical dependency, substance abuse, drug addiction or alcoholism, please call (410) 773-0500 or email [email protected]. Additional information on all of us treatment services can be found at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.