No room for ambiguity on evils of meth
For the Appeal
In the 18 years I have been observing people in crisis, I have discovered a few things.
One of the saddest discoveries is that only very few users have ever escaped the ravages of the methamphetamine horror world. When I read morally neutral stories featuring the exciting and sexy existence of people who have destroyed their lives, their children’s lives, their futures, their financial responsibility, and finally their God-given healthy bodies, I know that is just a tiny sliver of what is really happening in the semi-fascinating portrayal by a reporter or author.
The worst result of these morally neutral stories is just that, they are morally neutral. In order to be a good author or reporter, one cannot be judgmental. And to the innocent, wild side junior high young person, that becomes the message.
“So and so is doing it and they had a big story in the paper.”
Does this cause that young person to recoil in horror over what will become of him or her after he or she takes the first hit? And brother, that is all it takes!
This is not a morally neutral issue. It is a crime. It is suicidal. If one of our precious young people decides to go ahead and try it, the “morally neutral” issue has claimed another victim.
Who is paying for this wave?
How many users are utilizing entitlement benefits or family support systems to continue their lives without benefit of employment? Who is providing the money for these entitlement benefits?
The working taxpayer or mom or dad, that’s who.
Is methamphetamine causing homelessness? Yes.
Who is taking care of the semi deserted offspring of these users? Foster programs are jammed. CASA volunteers are loaded. Social workers are bogged down in case overload.
Who is paying the cost of hospitalization and lengthy mental health counseling when a user decides to really try to get clean and survive, and there are very few who really do this. Our God-given Counseling Center led by Mary Jenkins-Bryan is being asked to triple their capabilities while functioning on the same amount of insufficient funds they were given before the crisis. There might be a straw that breaks that camel’s back one day.
What about the cost of incarceration when a user fortunate enough to break a law and get caught? I heard one statistic that indicated that if all drug-related inmates were to vanish, our prisons would only need to hold about as many as they held in the 1950s. Our Legislature is trying to figure out where to get the money to provide prison beds.
Who is paying for this?
Do morally neutral feature articles really inform the public about this dark side of hell?
One of the three or four women who I know to have been delivered by Providence back to the clean life came to visit me the other day. She brought her absolutely beautiful granddaughter in a little stroller. The clear eyes and steady gait of grandma were enough to reward me for a lifetime.
But grandma had a terrible fear. This horror even runs in families. Two of her children had fallen into the heinous trap. Their rationale was quite simple. “Grandma made it out. So can we, when we want to.” The terrible truth is grandma’s deliverance was a once-in-a-family lifetime miracle. The other terrible truth is that the drug causes one to “not want to” get out, even after treatment and staying clean for months. Don’t count on a miracle the second time in the same family.
To the teenager who has been reading about the morally neutral life of a celebrity user, that just isn’t the way it is. It is not morally neutral. It is hell on earth. It just masks its evil in good feelings. For God’s sake, don’t take that first chance!
• Monte Fast is executive director of FISH.
• Kirk Caraway, whose column normally runs in this space, will return next week.