A few weeks ago, for the very first time ever, I noticed an arrest on social media from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. At the end of that post was, “The arrestee is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.” It’s about damn time. We scroll through social media like it’s real life. Many comment hateful things when arrests are made, whether for drugs or other crimes. In fact, even if law enforcement is looking for someone, we don’t assume them to be missing, we assume them to be wanted in connection to a crime. What this has done is perpetuated a loathing for those who most need the help.
As I have said time and again, people need something to put their hope in. Our United States systems are nothing to be hopeful about. We have perpetuated the idea that everyone is in some way a criminal. We see a police officer and become fearful that we may be the next victim of something. We might be stopped on the street and our person or vehicle searched for any number of reasons. It is a great tragedy in this country. Our young people grow up afraid of officers of any kind as that is fear projected by society in general.
As individuals, we don’t know anyone’s circumstances. We don’t know the struggles they’ve faced. The drug epidemic is a result of that. We have criminalized a person’s need to alleviate pain from illness, injury or mental health. We have perpetuated a “for-profit” system that disables most of society from the appropriate help and drives the drug war deeper into our communities, our families and our homes. There is no such thing as “community deterrence.” It is a made up phrase that means, “Let’s make an example of you.” Yet, those we try to instill the example to don’t care. They don’t look at someone else’s crime and say, “I’m not going to let that be me.” They are not cognizant of the big black SUV’s sitting across the street watching them. They are only cognizant of their need to treat the symptoms of various illnesses. They are looking for an escape from the pain, not what anyone else is doing.
Looking deeper into the drug war is not what is on an addict’s mind. What is on their mind is where are they going to get the next fix? How will they stop the pain of what is the only life they know? What do they have to sell to be able to escape? Thinking about this, it could be any one of us. Mental health struggles can lead to a need to something to escape memories, nightmares, flash backs. Physical injury can start an addiction in your doctor’s office. When the doctor can no longer treat ongoing pain, we might reach out for other pain relief methods. Anyone can find themselves in this place.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate. Our country’s leaders are responsible for managing our addiction crisis and they are responsible for the ongoing crisis. I know that I have shared many items on this previously, but it cannot be said enough. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
“You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results”
It is beyond time to sit together and find solutions instead of maintaining the status quo. I for one, am sick of judgements and calls to “lock them up.” If you think this is an effective method of fixing the problem, then you are informed only by ignorance. If you actually care about the problem, if it impacts your community or you personally, the best response is always to use a social media platform for good and to let others know what kind of information you actually have. Have you done any research? Have you looked into how you can help? If you don’t have the will to do that, the best thing to do is shut your mouth and crawl back in the hole you came out of.