Medicalizing our drug culture

Medicalizing our drug culture.

I wonder about how we can keep from falling off the other side of that? We are such a drug culture—our doctors seem mainly pill prescribers because that is how they have been enculturated by the drug companies. How can we trust that part of society to get us out of drug dependence?

On the other hand, they have the capacity to figure it out. Will they give us other drugs, worse than the first?

The answer I think involves all of society. We have reacted to the fear raised in the white middle class culture by pictures of crime and poverty associated with drugs. If instead we see this as victimizing a whole segment of our population, particularly those who are poor, we can begin to work on the problem. Why drugs? ought to be the question. Why do people want the drugs in the first place? It is not enough to say the high makes them feel powerful or gives escape from life: we need then to ask Why do they feel powerless? From what do they need to escape? If we can remove the desire for drugs then we make progress.

That’s why medicalizing gets us thinking in a better direction. It might not be the best direction. But it is better than deciding to lock up every black and brown baby at birth. If we get people medical help to free themselves from the demons, if we set caring people to helping them sort out their lives and find their upward yearning, if we help people find a way out and up, then we are on a much better path.

It is not bleeding heart to read the statistics about violence in poor neighborhoods. It is realistic to look at the statistics about drug related crimes and see whether we are making progress. It is truth telling to notice what we do when we drive down streets where crack heads and drug dealers do their thing: lock our doors, roll up our windows, look straight ahead. Why? Does this fear speak? Do we have enough cops to store all these people? Do we have enough prisons, enough courts? Do our prisons graduate more upstanding citizens or more criminals?

If what we are doing does not work, if our response is to try more of the same, what does that say about our sanity?

Is it time to pay attention here?

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on September 30th, 2008 | No Comments »

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