The Evolution of the Junkie

-Written by Mike Turner

Evolution of the JunkieAt present time, April of 2014, enough people are addicted to drugs in the US to constitute a full blown epidemic. The number of people addicted to prescription painkillers is growing exponentially and the availability of super strong heroin, at low prices is flooding emergency rooms across the country with overdoses and deaths.

It’s not just opiates that we are talking about here. Methamphetamine use is growing as well. New methods of production have the number of clandestine labs at an all time high. There are also many new designer drugs like Bath Salts, Gravel and Spice or synthetic marijuana that are making headlines every day. It’s not just the potency and availability that is increasing; it’s how dangerous and misunderstood these drugs really are.

One of the biggest problems is that most people just don’t know about these drugs or their affects until they are staring at them under the flickering red and blue lights of an emergency vehicle. As one Las Vegas man put it:

“I never really thought about it before. I mean, my son would never do something so stupid… I knew he was taking pain pills, after the car accident. There never was any problem to speak of. Now he’s just dead, from doing heroin (sobs, wipes tears away) with a needle. He’s dead and we never saw it coming.”

To put it succinctly, most people never see things like this coming. There is a common and dangerous misconception out there about drug addicts. Ask someone what a tweaker (meth addict) looks like and they’ll tell you something like this:

“Tweakers are scary looking, wretched, homeless people. They get that way because all they want to do is drop out, get high and steal other people’s stuff. They are wastes of life.”

While long term meth use does tend to create users that may fit that stereotype, the fact is that many types of people use the drug. Even successful members of society use meth for various reasons. Even over achieving straight A students might sometimes take the drug to boost performance. Some use it to study, some take it to feel good at a party. The end result, however, usually is the same with continued use.

“I just started taking (meth) to help me whenever I had a huge paper to write or a test to study for. I had some friends that did it and they never had a problem. It’s just that the drug made me feel so good that I wanted to feel like that all the time. That was three years ago when I started doing it. I never thought it would take away my home and my family.”

Stories like these and others can be found all over America today. No matter how you look at it the fact remains the same. People really don’t see it coming. Some don’t want to. It’s hard to imagine someone in your life falling prey to the allure of drugs. No one wants to lose someone like that. It is easier to just think of something else or to imagine it all away.

The thing is we don’t have to live like that. There are solutions to the problem of drug addiction. There are successful drug education programs out there. One of them is Narconon Colorado – A Life Worth Saving. Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, they work around the clock to get people off drugs. Narconon Colorado also has a dedicated staff that works to educate the public as to the dangers of addiction. One individual, John Veto gives regular drug education talks at different schools around the Northern Colorado area. Here’s what John had to say:

“Getting to the children at a young age and letting them know the effect of drugs and alcohol helps to give them reality on the situation. When they get older they can make a choice because they have a picture in their mind of what damage drugs really do. I can give them personal experience on the devastation of alcohol. I can talk about my background I can talk about my education and my lifelong struggle with alcohol addiction not only from my own personal experience, but growing up with a father who was an alcoholic. I try to help them understand that weather its legal or not, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily ok for the body or their lives. I try to show them the damage and destruction drugs can cause not only to the body but to the family as well.”

Education like that, not just for the kids but for the parents as well may be one of the greatest defenses we have when facing this rampant addiction epidemic. If the kids have a very clear picture of what drugs actually do, it may help them say no when faced with the decision to get high. Educating the parents on what is happening, what to look for and how to get help will also go a long way towards stemming the tide of addiction.

We have to get involved and keep educating ourselves. This means staying up to date on what the people in our lives are doing with theirs. We need to do away with old stereotypes and finally understand what drugs are out there, who is taking them and why.