Archive for August 5th, 2017

I shall attempt to write this without resorting to the language of my youth on the streets of…well, you know what I’m saying. Anyway, a van rear ended a car the other day. When the driver of the car emerged to determine why he was hit, the three occupants of the van, he found, were passed out. They had, apparently, overdosed on drugs…not just drugs, but fentanyl, “…a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.” This is one of those drugs where a little dab won’t do ya, it will probably kill ya. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “High doses of opioids, especially potent opioids such as fentanyl, can cause breathing to stop completely, which can lead to death. The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains fentanyl. Fentanyl sold on the street can be mixed with heroin or cocaine, which markedly amplifies its potency and potential dangers. But…I’m getting ahead of my story.

Now the driver of the car that had been hit knew a little bit more about the asshole idiot who hit him. The police and the fire department were called in an attempt to revive the three druggies. It took ten doses of Narcan to revive the three people. During the processing of their van, three police officers became exposed to the fentanyl and had to be taken to the hospital. Now, here’s my question: If one of those police officers had stopped breathing – in effect, overdosed by inhaling too much of the drug from the carpet or one of the seats – what would have happened if all of the Narcan was gone? Allow me to enlighten you…the cop would have died…not because he was a drug addict but because he was trying to do his job. That, to me, is as much murder as if one of those addicts had taken a gun and shot that cop, and that just happens to be murder.

Much has been made of the opioid crisis in America. Much has been made about helping the ‘poor people’ who overdose on opioids of any kinds. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us the we are in an epidemic of opioid abuse. Heck, we’ve been in the middle of a drug abuse fight for more than a century. We aren’t winning that fight, so what makes us think that we’re going to win the opioid abuse fight? Is Narcan the answer? It certainly doesn’t seem so when a local fire department is called to revive the same person three times in one week. Someone has to draw a line in the sand and say, “This is when we stop reviving you and allow you to kill yourself. If you are so stupid that you will not seek medical assistance and continue to take drugs like fentanyl, we will no longer be the crutch that you are dependent upon.”

Personal responsibility and accountability seem to be two things that are lacking in today’s generation, and we, as a society, are letting this generation get away with it. A teacher in a private school in Florida gave a student a failing grade…didn’t attend classes, didn’t pass in homework, failed each exam. The parents, who were major donors, protested on behalf of their daughter. The faculty member was told by the dean of faculty to change the grade. He refused and was suspended by the school. He no longer teaches. An athlete on scholarship at a major university no longer wanted to participate in her sport but wished to keep the scholarship money. Her coach refused. Again, parents intervened. Kid keeps scholarship and coach gets chewed out by the university president.

What is wrong with these situations. It seems that today, every kid who tries out for anything must be accepted, even if it’s the parents who want the child to perform, not the child. This whole idea of getting a trophy or a ribbon merely because one participates is nonsense. To quote one coach, “Athletics is one of the last fields in which meritocracy prevails.” Based on the university situation noted above, it’s conceivable that even that may be changing. When parents can bring pressure to bear to save little Johnny or Mary, there is something wrong. When will the child learn to stand on its own two feet, certainly not if someone is willing to fight their fights. When will the child learn the principles of accountability and responsibility, not while they have a champion in their corner. And what happens when the someone or the champion is no longer there, how will the child become an adult? How will the child learn the lessons of failure and success? The answer is that the child will not, and at that point, the child becomes a burden to the society in which we live.

Note to parents: Stay out of your kid’s lives after the age when they enter school. Allow them to rise or fall on their own merits. Kid didn’t make the team? Fine, kid wasn’t good enough. Kid is getting bullied? Fine, but if the school doesn’t respond, that’s when you step in. Kid gets a failing grade? Don’t accept, “My teacher is mean to me, or my teacher doesn’t like me, or my teacher picks on me.” Somewhere under there is a reason, a rationale. My question becomes, “Why is the teacher mean; why doesn’t the teacher like; why does the teacher pick.” Kids can be little shits, assholes, brats from the time they’re six until the time when some boss says, “You’re fired!” Or as one parent put it, “Put on your big girl panties and grow up!”

This is also true of opioid abusers. Fine, you had surgery and it hurt. Fine the doctor prescribed opioids and they made you feel better. Fine, you became addicted to them. Withdrawal is tough. Ask me, I’ve been through it with tobacco after 51 years of using it, and I am going through it again at age 82 with a benzodiazepine class of psychoactive drugs after using it for more than 20 years. My willpower is no stronger than the next person. I still have the drug…but I refuse to take it. My empathy for people who overdose on opioids is at an end. Yes, you may be revived one time…and one time only. Your life choices are yours and not the responsibility of those you feel should always help and protect you.

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