I wish that every story in our neighborhood was upbeat and funny. I wish the worst thing I could complain about was the squirrel eating my tulip bulbs. And while that squirrel is, indeed, an asshole, there are far worse things in the world, in our country, in our state, in our neighborhood.
Like this, for instance.
Let’s get honest here for a minute. We are all guilty of pretending everything is wonderful at some point or another, not wanting to admit our imperfections to anyone outside our households, or sometimes even those within them. We clean our houses if we know someone’s coming over, some of us (lucky enough to have them) brag about our wonderful vacations on Facebook, we announce the straight A’s but don’t breathe a word about the failing grades.
What I see in the heroin epidemic (what heroin epidemic? I don’t see any heroin epidemic! I live in the bucolic suburbs, not the nasty big city. I’m sure that kid found dead in the park bathroom must’ve tripped and fell) is pain. People, kids and adults, are in pain and trying to make it go away. Where can people go for help when they feel overwhelmed, sad, even angry? When they need to someone to understand how they’re feeling?
I’m not an expert in much of anything (except maybe homemade spaghetti sauce and block parties), but do people go from zero to heroin addiction? Do people turn to heroin after the first bout of sadness, disappointment or stress? Or are we also experiencing an epidemic of people not knowing how to cope with negative emotions coupled with a (perceived or real) lack of support from empathetic friends who can help?
It is certainly admirable and necessary to stop the production and sale of heroin; I wish our law enforcers out there Godspeed and good luck. But I also hope we all learn both to turn to other people when we’re down instead of pretending everything’s perfect, and to be the sort of person people can turn to when they need help. Even with big, embarrassing, scary problems.
This is happening. What are we going to do about it?
ADDENDUM: My friend Miss Lis made some excellent points about this topic on Facebook. “I don’t think there’s nearly enough drug education. It’s all well and good to make the blanket statement “don’t do drugs” but if kids were made more aware of how easy it is to go from recreational user to full blown addict, or how easy it is to die of an overdose, or what happens when a bad batch comes through town, or that you will steal from people who love you to get a fix, that if you’re lucky enough to make it to the point of detoxing it will be the most awful painful experience of your life. I have never touched the stuff but back in college I saw it in action, it’s horrific.” She also added “Not to mention the effect it has on your physical appearance, kids don’t want to listen, appeal to their vanity. Heroin is as bad as meth in this department. Wrecks your skin, and then the infected track marks – hello sexy!” I know there are also kids turning to heroin out of boredom or “fun.” We need to teach them how absolutely, completely, utterly NOT FUN it is.
UPDATE: Speaking of education, here is a free program to help in that area. He will speak at both Downers Grove North and Downers Grove South. If I hear of other programs, I will let you know; October is the month for “Red Ribbon Week” for drug abuse awareness, so there may be more. (H/T to Hilary for giving me this info.)