I am noticing a troubling trend here and around Philly, and I am sure that we are not alone with this problem. It's that heroin is on the rise as the drug of choice among a certain segment of the population.
I read a great article in the Washington Post today about this very subject, which prompted me to write this post.
"Last month, NBC News ran a series of stories about the United States’ “growing heroin epidemic.” Two things stand out in the reports: One is their sympathetic tone; the other is that almost everyone depicted is white.
Drug users and their families aren’t vilified; there is no panicked call for police enforcement. Instead, and appropriately, there is a call for treatment and rehabilitation. Parents of drug addicts express love for their children, and everyone agrees they need support to get clean.
In one NBC report, a drug court judge kindly cajoles and encourages people into getting treatment to avoid jail time. Another shows a teacher who was shooting up in the school bathroom now off drugs and happily married. Parents talk passionately about the need to have access to Naloxone, a drug that can counteract heroin overdoses. Every user is treated as a human being who made a mistake and who, with the proper support, can go on to live a productive life.
The heroin epidemic has exploded in white America. The Post has reported on its arrival in affluent Fairfax County, where “young people are jeopardizing their futures with a drug that for decades was seen as the choice of only the most desperate and hardened city junkies.” Peter Shumlin (D), the governor of Vermont — one of the whitest states — devoted his entire State of the State address this year to the effect of opiate addiction on Vermonters and what government could do to help them." [Source]
One thing we do know is that this latest drug epidemic will be treated differently than the one that ravaged urban America when Saint Ronnie Of Reagan was leading this country from his dementia driven stupor.
There was no hand holding and words of encouragement for those caught using crack cocaine back then. No scolding from the bench to get proper treatment for an addiction that might shatter the perp's future.
Back then it was draconian sentences handed down by cold dispassionate judges whose only mission was to get one more black junkie off the street.
We all know that Reagan pushed for drug legislation which created a disparity between crack and powder cocaine laws. (It also made shareholders in the private prison industry wealthy.) If you were caught with crack cocaine your sentence was sure to be harsh. If you were caught with powder cocaine, on the other hand, it was quite a different story.
Folks hate on Barack Obama, but we would like to thank the "Kenyan Socialist" for signing the Fair Sentencing Act into law.
Clearly, new attention to heroin use in white, affluent areas is changing the perceptions and politics of drug addiction. No longer are the addicts “desperate and hardened.” Apparently, heroin use isn’t the result of bad parenting, the rise of single-parent families or something sick or deviant in white culture. It isn’t an incurable plague that is impossible to treat except with jail time. Drug addicts no longer are predatory monsters."
No they are not. How could they be? They are white.