Drugs. We use them, sell them, prescribe them, abuse them and everything else you can imagine. Some are illegal. Some are legal, but are distributed illegally. However you look at them, both legal and illegal, they make up a substantial portion of the American economy. But the real question is why are some drugs are treated differently?
When crack hit the streets of California, it was deemed an epidemic. Families were torn apart. Babies were born with an addiction before even being introduced into the world and that very same world was being torn to shreds by a cooked up version of cocaine that looked like chips of soap. The government got involved and amid Nancy Reagan’s “Say No To Drugs” campaign a tremendous “War on Drugs” was waged in the streets of Los Angeles and other urban areas that had fallen victim to the ruthless drug. Houses were demolished, suspects were ravished – even before being proven guilty- families torn apart and many generations of incarceration started right there on crack riddled streets. Oddly enough, the epidemic continued and while crack consumption continued to rip families apart, nothing was done to quell the effects of the deadly drug. The private sector of prison management, however, greased their palms as more and more cells were filled with crack pushers and users alike. Is that how you take the strength of an epidemic?
Now we are in the sights of a new epidemic. The opioid epidemic. I’m curious though. Where is the war on drugs? I don’t see any battering rams tearing down front doors or opioid dealers being beaten to a pulp in front of their children. Suddenly, we are looking to educate people and let them know why opioids can be so deadly. Educating the youth in order to assist them in avoiding deadly behavior that may end up being fatal. What a novel idea? I can be assertive in saying that I believe I know exactly why this is, but then again, I can be objective and believe that perhaps hindsight is indeed 20/20. Perhaps the destruction caused by the crack era, both involving the user and the criminals who sold it, can be avoided if handled properly. Unfortunately, America’s stench has a resounding comfort in my nasal passage. In short terms, I smell bullshit.
The Racial Divide
It is more than obvious that crack was an epidemic that, although it didn’t affect only black communities, did affect them in a disproportionate manner. This, I think, contributed to the way in which things were handled. There is an uncanny resilience in America to define crime and punishment differently according race. You can live in denial if you like and think that this is not the case, however, the treatment of these two epidemics is on completely polar opposites. While the crack epidemic was fought with a WAR on drugs, the opioid epidemic is being treated with Knowledge and Awareness. The latter in which I , along with others in the 80’s and 90’s would agree, is the best course of action. Instead, pawns of the CIA produced crack epidemic filled the penitentiaries of America supplying major corporations with cheap labor. The few that were lucky to see the light of day again were inserted back into the drug decayed streets with no skills or rehabilitation to even prepare them to be citizens again. Now that white America is affected, all measures of prevention, awareness and education are in full effect. Meanwhile illegal drugs fuel so much of the American economy that the government will never truly look to stop Americans from using or selling drugs….but they sure have a nice way of reminding us where we stand in the grand scheme of things. Catch ya’ on the FLIPSIDE.