Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Find the Cost of Our Freedom

Like a rain of deadly cluster bombs, drugs are blanketing Appalachia, killing and disabling family members and friends in record numbers. No doubt, greed and all-consuming addiction push many once-resourceful citizens toward the killing grounds that permeate all neighborhoods and social strata.

Illegal drug abuse is a lucrative business in Appalachia -- a dirty, deadly remnant of a culture that can't seem to escape from its own ills of poverty and sadness.The solace drugs offer someone suffering from pain is temporary, and the disease they produce is degenerative.To those who deal and distribute, the rising death count merely marks the rise of profit, but to those who wittingly and unwittingly consume, the count just unceremoniously "body bags" another victim of chemical cannon fodder.

I constantly hear, "If you only knew the truth..." from those closest to the problem of drug abuse. Numbers and reports of drug-related deaths are surely low as many are "swept under the rug." The use of Rx drugs by teens is growing, not to mention the teens easy access to money for handling low-end jobs as runners for major dealers and distribution points. Young women prostitute themselves and lose custody of their children to the intoxicating effects of drugs.Other people are using welfare and medicare to purchase and sell drugs to supplement their fixed incomes. All in all, many Hollywood and music celebrities face drug charges that make consumption look fashionable to the general public, and the public worships these phonies in a frenzied idolatry of media reports.

I am an activist. But, it's hard not to be an alarmist in these times. I have taught the victims of drug abuse. I have looked into the grieving mother's eyes as she mourns her dead drug-addicted child. I have considered how easily someone could become addicted to Rx pain relievers. I have searched for answers. I have asked God and the community for help. I have met with law enforcement officials, addicts, health officials, doctors, counselors, rehab officials, and legislators. The only answer to this problem is simple but very hard for the greedy or for the addicted -- THEY MUST FIND HELP AND BEGIN TO STOP WHAT THEY ARE DOING TODAY.

What would you say if I told you I know of at least three area people who have lost their lives to drugs this week?
Would it shock you? Would you care as long as you weren't affected? I'm warning you to know the "Red Flags" of abuse and addiction and nip the problems quickly before they become disasters. These flags wave continually around your families. No amount of isolation or down-home philosophy will insulate the shock.

Teens, especially today with added emphasis on fashion and maturation, may look as if they are older and capable of making good decisions 100% of the time; however, in all honesty, they are not infallible; all of them make crucial mistakes, no matter how solid their family and societal values. Teens need the security that innocence provides, and only an informed family can insure that protection.

Today, in Scioto County (as it has been for the last four years), people are more likely to die from drug abuse than from a crash on the highway. Consider how much time is devoted to teaching proper safe driving technique. What is being taught about the reality of dangerous drugs -- oxycodone, heroin, prescription drug "cocktails"?

To my surprise, finding young members in our Facebook group of over 3,300 people who are willing to lead and speak out is extremely difficult. They join as somewhat silent witnesses -- reading and watching local developments, but not coming to the front. I understand their reluctance to identify themselves with a somewhat dangerous cause, but I still believe many know things of which parents are completely oblivious. Parents, please understand that the "drugs" of today are not the "drugs" of the past, with the possible exception of marijuana.

I believe without education, no problem will be solved. Myths spread by those who prey upon others for money and favors abound. Gangsta and offensive respect are tickets to trouble. Today, I am very hopeful we can rebuild our communities with recent successes and continuing actions of very dedicated people. But, today, I also mourn. I mourn that three more lives were lost this week. I mourn for every grieving relative and parent of these victims. I grieve for the complete shutdown of immoral pill mills and the lawless disregard of those frequenting these places. I grieve for all of us until we rid ourselves of this disease.

If you are a college or high school student who wants to become involved, I will put you to work on this problem now. You can remain anonymous or join groups of friends to help. We sorely need your backing in Scioto County. Thanks for joining the group "Fix the Scioto County Problem of Drug Abuse." Now, let me introduce you to some action to take to win our respect back. I appreciate all of you.

Let me put you to work. frank.thompson51@yahoo.com

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