Recent statistics from a variety of organizations have pointed to an alarming fact of life in the United States – we’re quite literally a nation of junkies. From over-the counter drugs, prescription drugs, painkillers, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, steroids, crack, cocaine, heroin, meth, glue and on and on Americans are on some substance or the other. Getting zonked out is a routine; binge drinking at the nation’s college is part of “adult education” and alcoholism is the creeping epidemic in poor and depressed ghettoes across America.
This is the reality of American society: people go about their daily lives spaced out on prescription drugs, painkillers, alcohol or crack. From the High School kid smoking a marijuana “spliff” to a mid-Manhattan attorney shooting heroin in his veins to the crack-head getting a fix in the slum areas its happening daily.
Funny thing is that nobody, except the few groups and organizations that fight drug use and abuse, seems to care. There is no “war on drugs” at home as there is an Iraq war and the approach by city, state and federal governments to this crisis has been to offer up periodic Band-Aid solutions to an endemic chronic cancer.
Five million teenagers (under age 20 years) use marijuana on a daily basis or put another way the entire population of every English-speaking Caribbean island combined. The nation’s High Schools are riddled with drugs. 2.5 million High school students say that they can buy marijuana within a day and some 5 million can get it every day. Just recently the police busted up a drug dealer operating out of a high school in Queens, New York selling crack cocaine to both students and others.
The illegal drug trade is a multi billion dollar industry that carries with it violence and murder. Large project housing complexes in population centers like New York, Los Angeles and Texas are oftentimes riddled with every form of substance abuse and use. For example, in parts of East New York in Brooklyn alcoholism is rampant. So is unemployment especially among Black males (48 percent) that spawn every kind of violence from domestic abuse to teenage gang violence.
Teenage parties are affairs when drug use and experimentation is a normal thing. Binge drinking mixed with marijuana, crack cocaine and other hard drugs oftentimes carry with it deadly violence between users took zonked out to know the difference between what is real and what is not. Marry that with illegal hand guns and the result is a deadly combination. According to the police the majority of teenage killings happen after 4:00 a.m in the morning – in other words after parties are over.
And drug abuse also is an engine for serious diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, Hepatitis and other STDS. With resistance down due to drug use people engage in reckless behavior on the spur of the moment that is fraught with regrets and pain for the rest of their lives. Even so-called “closed communities” have their share of drug abuse problems. The face of drug abuse in the United States is usually a Black or Latino male or female. But the reality is that this problem is just as bad – sometimes worse – in other non-Black communities. In the Jewish community for example the use of “designer drugs” like Ecstasy is on the rise and for the white community teens usually get high on a large variety of substances.
White teens abuse over-the-counter drugs like cough syrup, painkillers and other prescription drugs. They also sniff inhalants and glue and are more likely to mix these drugs with alcohol on are regular basis to get “high.” Chronic drug addiction is not confined to the Black or Latino communities although there are exceptionally high rates of addiction in these communities. That is because there are very few substance abuse programs that work in these communities when compared to white communities.