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Friday, February 6, 2015

Offensive City of Portsmouth Seal Shirts

Problems should be exposed to the public. Criticism is necessary to reveal "cracks in the mortar" of a system dedicated to serving the people. However, griping about bad things without offering positive advice and taking positive actions to improve living conditions serves no useful purpose. Such is the prevailing "bad mouthing" attitude harbored by many who live in Scioto County.

A recent tee shirt being sold in the area mocks the City of Portsmouth with a city seal displaying images of syringes, illegal drugs, and prescription opioids. Now, I love humor and satire, but when I saw this shirt being advertised for sale, I was sickened. I know how hard so many good people have worked to fight drug abuse in Portsmouth, and this "funny" seal made me realize with clarity one of the most glaring problems in my beloved town.

Many people here accept the depressed, drug-deluged image of our town without question. They may abhor the prevalent drug abuse, but they evidently find some perverse interest in being indifferent to the infamous celebrity of their home. With a crooked smile and a nod of acceptance of "that's just the natural way things in decay become," they gripe about "those others" who abuse substances.

Well, this supposedly humorous seal pisses me off. Period. When a cancer invades the body of our community, we must demand every surgical means to excise the deadly mass. Even if this shirt is meant to ridicule the situation and wake up the public, it affronts those who have lost loved ones to substance abuse. Needles, pills, cocaine, heroin -- these things harbor terrible recollections of tragedies. To use them in any positive manner, the artist must make sure the message is clear: drug abuse maims and kills. Any dumbasses promoting substance abuse is an idiot.

There is nothing funny about addiction. Nothing.

Films, photos, stories, and artwork that glamorize it or that treat it as if it is "normal" in any way tear the fabric of community values. I would hope that the misguided purveyors of such ignorant fantasy are introduced to the actual destruction of the drug epidemic sweeping our nation ... decimated families, crime-ridden neighborhoods, zombie-like addicts, corpses of overdose victims, addicted babies going through withdrawal -- for Christ's sake, these are the COMMON realities of ingesting deadly substances. They exist in Portsmouth, Ohio.

If you know someone who laughs about conditions in Portsmouth, ask them what they are doing to improve their community. No, first ask them if they even want to improve their community. If they express good intentions, challenge them to build positive changes, not help to feed the negativity that already exists.

I don't know what the drug-filled, city seal tee shirts cost, but if you buy one and wear it, consider how proud that must make children feel about their future in Portsmouth, Ohio, as they see you display the message. Sarcasm is only as valuable as its design, and this design misses any mark of improvement.

The tee shirts? Families and friends of many lost to drugs must be furious at attempts to minimize the problem and to chuckle about a "town where everyone is addicted." If I remember correctly that was a lead-in to one of the network television doctor's segments (Dr. Ozz, maybe?) some years ago about the Oxy distribution from pill mills here. Amid all the efforts then to improve the area, that comment really hurt. The media wants blood and guts horror stores for big ratings. It cares little about how a town fights tooth and nail to stop drug abuse.

Parents, become active and responsible. Teach your children well. Keep them away from any influences that minimize the dangers and risks they face in Scioto County. And more than that, become active in the fight against drug abuse -- your children will see your model behavior and realize your commitment to make things better, not to just gripe and remain indifferent. I can tell you narrative after narrative about people who just weren't tough enough.

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