Did you know there was such a show as Drug, Inc? Me either. Because I am self-loathing and masochistic, I sat down one night with SC, Jared and AC to watch it. Actually, we sat down to watch something and landed on that. Each episode outlines one drug, how it is made, its affect, its worth and talks to people who abuse the drug, and those who deal the drug. I was surprised by two things: 1. I had no idea there were so many drugs. I hadn’t even heard of some of them. 2. I learned something about heroin. Of course there was an episode about heroin and because I clearly don’t get enough of heroin in my life, I wanted to watch it. Before anyone runs to their Netflix account, please be warned: It was graphic. And disturbing. SC kept saying she didn’t think it was healthy that I watched it. And, there was a death, a young woman overdosed which was upsetting. Even to me. But for a whole different set of reasons that I won’t get into today.
The episode specifically targeted the heroin epidemic in Ohio and the path from Mexico to the streets of Ohio but it could easily be replaced with Boston. The situation is the same, really. The show started in Mexico with the opiate plant, which I had no idea was such a beautiful flower. The plant on its own was very mythical looking. It was hard to make the connection from this flower that could grow alongside the river that Unicorns drink from to the killing serum my daughter injects in her arm. It’s really tough to imagine. They showed how it was harvested, the brown liquid from the plant and what a harvested plant looked like. The Mexican equivalent of DEA burn the plantations that are hidden everywhere. The operations that run these farms are incredible, in the most horrifying way of course.
The mules (I have the lingo now so ya… I am on fleek) often don’t even know where it originates from. Many times the person running food or supplies out to the tents on the farms have no idea why they are getting paid to do it or who they are giving it too but they are paid well so they do it and shut up. This is because if they are caught there is no risk of them turning over information. Kids are recruited for all kind of running services as early as 14. I was also surprised to learn that many dealers, at the higher level, not the cell level, do not do heroin. Many have never done it. For them, it is strictly a business. And it is a lucrative business. For every hand that it exchanges, heroin basically doubles, triples or higher, in value by the time it reaches the street. The irony in that is that heroin is a fall back to other more expensive drugs. Though, let’s be honest shall we- the expense is so much greater than the $40 an addict pays. The cost is really a life, family, future, etc. The $40 that changes hands is the smallest of the costs but large extremes can be met to get that bag.
While watching the show, and learning about how it is smuggled across the border AC said something along the lines of maybe a wall isn’t a bad idea. Typically I would not get into a political rant on this blog, because regardless of our political stance in addiction we are all on the same page. Rarely will something reach out to me to be written about that is controversial on a political level. I know that most anyone who reads this blog knows I am called Democratic but I’m probably most defined as Liberal and I hate labels so I don’t want to be either. That being said, I understood why AC would say something like that. He is an immigrant. He came here from Colombia over 20 years ago. He has also, like looks-like-a-penguin-Cruz, made the most of his American experience. He is a hard worker, he followed the process, and he paid taxes and the outrageous fees necessary to be a legal citizen. It was not easy. There were times when he thought he might not stay here but he is and ours is not a green card marriage, in case anyone was wondering. The current debates about immigration reform and walls being built is something that hits home personally for us. I understand why it is a hot topic in the news, and it is something we discuss at home frequently. Both AC and I have been fascinated by the current presidential election process. The turmoil that the Republican Party is in speaks to the division of our country. Between banning people from bathrooms to who can wave a confederate flag or not has shown that Americans have lost focus on the importance of civility. We all have a right to our beliefs and to believe whatever you like, but when we start looking at issues as the black and white on paper and not the people it affects, sometimes to their detriment, we are not behaving American and we have lost our humanity.
All of that not withstanding, watching the trucks of heroin passing through the border it was hard not to think that a wall would certainly be one way to stop it. Only, I doubt it. Criminals are typically genius at what they do. There is no wall big enough to block out the internet. With will and money to back it, drug lords would find ways to get the drugs here. And to Aruba. Or Japan. Or wherever the hot spot is. Currently the US is the #3 country most affected by drugs, specifically prescription painkillers. This has a direct link to the increase in heroin activity, including heroin death since it is a typical jump from painkillers when they become too expensive or not accessible. I really had to think about that whole wall thing, and honestly, I think there has to be a better way. History has shown us that segregation and isolation doesn’t work and is harmful and hateful. I don’t know enough about the Mexican government to know if they are corrupt, aiding in the drug problem, or if they are committed to finding a resolution. The other issue, the one no one really wants to talk about it, is that if there weren’t customers it wouldn’t matter what Mexico smuggled in. Is the problem really that it comes into the states? Or that our citizens, namely our loved ones, want it? Shouldn’t we be trying to figure out why our world has gotten so effed up that heroin is the answer to a problem for some?
There are a lot of problems in the world right now. Some are big, some are small, all are important to someone. I do not think that we all need to agree on everything. I like that people take a stance they believe in, even if it is something I don’t believe in. I could say America was founded on this, and America was founded on that but truly the only real American’s were the Native American’s. Yet, we use “Indians” as school mascots, presumably without asking an actual Native American if that is offensive. We have first world problems that we treat with third world theory and logic. Other countries have been getting bombed by the trillion since Jesus was a little boy, but it’s shocking and surprising that war is finding its way into our backyard. I hate to be the bringer of the bad news but war has been around us, always. If we spend too much time fighting with each other, we won’t remember who are real allies and enemies ….and that is the same with addiction. We treat our addicted like enemies of war but the real war is waged within them, against themselves. Shouldn’t we be focused on helping them learn to love themselves?