September 30, 2013

The best way to avoid the path of devastation is to steer clear of it all together.



I tell my kids the reason I didn’t do drugs was because I was afraid I might like them.  (I could have told them that the DuPage County Coroner’s office has reported 38 heroin overdose deaths already this year but I’ve learned that statistics don’t resonate very well with kids.) 
Heroin used to be taboo among many recreational drug users because it was injected intravenously with a needle into a vein. The common belief was that anyone who “shoots up” is a “junky”. 
Because human beings are masters at rationalizing their behavior, a growing number of people are now experimenting with heroin because it doesn’t have the stigma of yesterday.
Manufacturers of heroin have since figured out how to refine it with such purity that it can be smoked or snorted, so it doesn’t seem so scary anymore. Not to mention that it’s pretty cheap compared to other popular illegal drugs so even those on a limited income can afford it.     
It is for these very reasons that we are seeing more deaths from heroin overdoses.  Some might call it an “epidemic”.  In order for something to be called an epidemic, there has to be a widespread occurrence so, I think the term is fitting.

The fact that humans are pleasure-seekers by nature makes heroin easy to market.
If I were the CEO in charge Heroin, Inc., I would have my sales team give away free samples because one use is all it takes to develop an addiction.  It’s a derivative of morphine and anyone who has been given the substance in a hospital for pain relief can attest that it makes you feel really groovy.  In fact, I would choose that line as my marketing slogan.
The return on my investment is the addicts I’ve created who will beg, borrow and steal to get their next fix.  Heroin addicts are not born.  They are made—hence my philosophy that I’m terrified I might like it.
I wrote my last column about Drug Rehabilitation Court and I received a lot of responses based on this comment I made:
I still struggle because I believe we arrive at addiction by way of conscious choice.  A reasonable person must suffer the consequences of choosing a path where they know there is a strong likelihood of it ending in destruction.”
Some people felt as though I wasn’t showing compassion for those who have found themselves on the aforementioned path.  One person declared that they didn’t choose the path – it was chosen for them.  Their parents were drug addicts and thus, the path was already paved in stone for them.
I never meant to imply that our circumstances don’t play a colossal role in the course of our future.  Any social scientist with PhD after their name will tell you that the environment to which we are exposed dictates our cultural and social norms.
I will, however, argue that our paths are not paved in permanence.  I had the honor and privilege to be educated about Drug Court Rehabilitation and I am so pleasantly touched by success stories of those who have overcome their addiction to become productive members of society.
Paths can change when we have the courage to be honest and admit we are going in the wrong direction.  If we don’t know we are on the wrong road, I have found that human influence can be the one thing that changes our course.  All it takes is one person to stand at the fork in the road and help us make the turn.  That doesn’t mean that we won’t fall down now and again as long as we keep getting up and moving forward.
Some people will try to lure and entice you down the wrong path. The best way to avoid the path of devastation is to steer clear of it all together. 

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