Image credit: Cristie Guevara
Is there a killer on the loose? A killer who seduces its victims to indulge in unbelievable highs and drop dead lows? When asked to imagine your image of what a drug dealer looks like, such visualization quite often looks like a repugnant individual dealing illegal drugs, in a detestable low-income environment. Yet the crisis of drug addiction has far exceeded the stereotypical images of illegal street drugs in at-risk neighborhoods.
Image credit: Vera Kratochvil
Drug addiction is not a subject I am an expert in. I worked, however, as a volunteer in a residential center where the stories of recovering addicts left your heart pulsating with pain and anger. Many of the residents were addicted to illegal drugs and surprisingly a great number of them were also recovering from the effects of prescription meds. Yet, the interesting thing about these stories is how these addicts were judged and completely vilified for their addictions, as opposed to those predators who dealt them the narcotics in the first place. Although great attention is thrown towards ostracizing illegal drug users, those addicted to prescription meds from affluent communities are rising and being exposed in vast numbers.
Image credit: Lode Van de Velde
Splattered across practically every media outlet, the opioid addiction, crisis, epidemic, and overdoses have become a legal medicinal pandemic. Many report that the sanitized version of the new drug kingpin, drug pusher, drug baron or narcotrafficker is originating from the smoking gun of pharmaceutical companies, their top executives and legal counsel, marketers, many industry-specific specialists, and physicians, along with employees falling down that legalized drug chain. Although not all pharmaceutical companies are guilty of such scrutiny, evidence of the growing attraction to prescription meds is clearly seen through countless drug ads on television, printed publications and other media outlets.
Image credit: George Hodan
There is also the question of where designer Zombie drugs like Flakka and Spice are coming from. Drug addiction, whether through legal or illegal means is a health, wellness, and societal problem, and quite frankly it has been for a while, regardless of what side of the tracks you are from. The question remains, what are we going to do to avoid a zombie apocalypse occurring as a result of the deadly influence of these drugs, legal or not?
Now quite honestly, we need medication for certain ailments, diseases, and disorders, but close encounters with addiction whether legal or illegal is dangerous and deadly. The consequences do not simply affect the individual who is addicted but it also dominos into more serious conditions for innocent bystanders who are injured or even killed by those under the influence of these mind-altering drugs.
This is not a smear campaign about meds, but the normalcy of this very profitable systemic problem should not continue to grow on the backs of highly vulnerable victims, legal or not. As one conversation puts it, we can’t continue to give accountability-free passes to legalized dealers living in gated communities and mansions, any more than we do for illegal drug usage and the dealers who distribute them. Wow!