Our Own Worst Enemy
edited: Monday, December 10, 2001
By Candida L Eittreim
Posted: Monday, December 10, 2001
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Those bastions of capital consumerism K-Mart and WalMart would be out of business tomorrow, without the customers to buy their products. The same holds true for illegal drugs.
We are losing the War On Drugs. Pundits posit many reasons why this is so: ineffective laws, overly harsh interdiction, not enough emphasis on treatment-the list goes on. Very few look at one of the root causes: consumerism. Americans consume narcotics in amazing quantities, both legal and illegal. We want a quick fix for everything that ails us. Bottom line is we wouldn’t have the problem, if there wasn’t a market for it. Those bastions of capital consumerism K-Mart and WalMart would be out of business tomorrow, without the customers to buy their products. The same holds true for illegal drugs.
Who does the buying? There is a wide spread misconception that illegal drug use is seen in very poor, disenfranchised areas of the country. This is true , but it is not confined to the very poor inner city neighborhoods. Upper class affluent areas of this country see just as much, if not more illegal drug buys. Both ends of the societal spectrum do so for very different reasons.
In our inner cities, the desire to have the best is just as strong as in any other area. Often, poorly educated families, living in high crime areas, find themselves drawn into the drug culture, either in self-defense or because it is the only way they see to make money. Parents want their children to have the best of everything, yet don’t have the means to attain them. Thus, crime becomes a viable option. Once a parent makes this choice, the message becomes clear to their children: get what you want, by whatever means you can. I will look further at this in another article.
Drug use in the inner cities is often born of hopelessness, pain and despair. High domestic abuse incidences, coupled with rape, lack of education and grinding poverty, all lead the weak into seeking escape. And the predators on every street corner are there to make that first step easy. Girls are lead into a twilight world of prostitution, theft and ultimately prison or death. Boys jump into gangs, acting as spotters, often as young as 7 years old. And the market just keeps cycling the dollars on and on, in an endless cycle of destruction and pain.
At the other end, the affluent neighborhoods, the causes are very different. Bright, talented and successful people have the means to purchase top quality cocaine and China White heroin. Drug use among the wealthy is as old as time itself. Often lacking character, a clear sense of where they fit in the world, and into endless self gratification, these individuals seek illegal drugs to bring an element of danger and excitement to their lives. The children of privilege are the same. Often having 2 very successful parents, beautiful homes and attending the best schools, these kids have no values beyond their own needs. They know if they maintain good grades and behave appropriately for company, they are left to their own devices. Their parents trust them.
And they breach that trust with impunity. And why not? Mom and Dad are busy with their own careers and needs. That their child might use or traffic in illegal drugs is unthinkable to them. But, often these busy people never took the time to give their children moral and ethical guidance. That same mechanism: be successful at all costs is at work here. Look good, behave well and if you don’t, don’t get caught.
Mom and Dad come home from work, head straight for the martini shaker, or a pill, to help them unwind. Or close friends use drugs in their homes. The opportunities for drug use are endless, and with enough money, very available.
Until we, the American citizens, take responsibility for our own contributions to this problem, we will never come close to a solution. We all need to take a deep hard look at ourselves and how we raise our children. Until we address this within our own families, it is fruitless to lay this failure at law enforcement or governments doorstep. It starts and ends with us. We are our own worst enemy.