A series on the reality of the opiate crisis and the dangers of deregulation
If you are familiar with my work, you know that I have witnessed a lot in my lifetime. Perhaps that is why I was destined to write — so I could write it all down. You see, the most sordid places in our world are full of people who don’t have microphones. Since I have been gifted one, opportunities can be born of the worst and most painful experiences of my life. I can hold my microphone for some people who have none.
Today, I hold my microphone for the heroin addict and for all who have fallen into the grip of the opiate crisis — a world inside our world, a world that most cannot see. I do not only hold it today, however. I hold my microphone, and I commit to continue holding it until we get to the bottom of a disturbing invitation.
I care deeply about this deadly invite because I have loved many who have lost their lives to its creator — heroin. There is a movement inside of a movement. And the uninformed opinion of many has brought me to my knees in utter disbelief and shock.
We have been invited to grab ahold of a new idea that is gaining momentum. And as passionate as many of us are about decriminalization and ending the war on drugs, it is no surprise that someone came up with such a far-out proposal. It makes sense that this nonsensical idea would make sense to some people who have no real-life experience with addiction. But to anyone who has treaded the waters of opiate addiction, it is a baffling idea to consider.
Only it’s not treading water — it is trying in vain to tread in liquid sand — quicksand — in which the harder one moves their legs to stay afloat, the faster one is destined to sink and drown.
Many decriminalization activists believe that all drugs should be completely unregulated — sold over the counter to any adult. They think that anyone should be able to go, merrily, to the drug store, any time they please, and purchase anything — including opiates.
A paralyzing cognitive dissonance exists between the idea of complete deregulation and the reality that such a mistake would create. Comprehending how someone could think it makes sense to openly sell opiates is very difficult for anyone who has a living understanding of the opiate crisis. But this is only for lack of valuable information and therefore understanding, on the part of the naive.
This question, though, of why complete deregulation of opiates would fuel the opiate crisis like never before, has many questions inside of it. There are too many questions and too many answers. Every question and answer has more questions inside — too many for me to write in a day. Or even a week.
To explain to you what I understand about the world of opiate addiction, I would have to write multiple stories explaining multiple concepts and truths. I would have to research relentlessly and conduct interviews. I would have to create a series. So, that is what I shall do.
I can share what I intend for this piece, made of many, to become. But, as with anything a writer decides to write, the idea has its own ideas, too.
We will explore this question through the eyes and stories of those who have fought the battle of opiate addiction. I will tell the stories of some we have lost, and some who have lived will tell their stories, too.
To the argument for complete deregulation, claiming that it would reduce deaths from tainted drugs, we will explore why most addicts would still purchase their drugs on the streets.
To the argument that adults should have the right to choose, we will explain how the use of opiates takes away your right to choose, making this argument a moot point.
We will dive into the psychological and neurological aspects of opiates as well as the crisis among teens that would overtake our country if people could buy dope at their local grocery store. I will share many stories that demonstrate how and why other opiates lead to heroin and how complete deregulation of opiates would only increase this percentage.
Most importantly, we will dive deep into the perspective and reasoning of those who advocate for complete deregulation. Who knows, maybe they know something that I do not.
I share everyone else’s disdain for the war on drugs. However, the thing we must do is not end it. We must acknowledge that it never existed. There was no war on drugs, but a war waged on human lives and souls — a war of oppression and death. And we all know who the queen of death is in this terrible attack.
Crack has ruined countless lives and kept families in poverty for generations, disproportionately minorities. It still has its hold on many urban communities. But we all know that Heroin and all her little opiate minions have become the grim reapers of the war waged against our souls and the souls of those we love. The best thing we could do for Heroin is to put her or her servants on the shelves of the stores we go to every day.
Decriminalization, absolutely. Decreased regulation and easy access, imperative. Complete deregulation, deadly.
Written by Holly Kellums
Originally published on Medium.com
Featured image by Discha-AS