Guest Author - Susan Hubenthal
Three Mothers whose son's have been incarcerated for drug related crimes have recently contacted me. Two of these young men also have mental health issues and need medication. One has recently been arrested for cocaine and paraphernalia possession. He has been in and out of treatment for a few years, and now has the option for drug court instead of incarceration. Another is awaiting trial in another state; he also has a mental illness and needs medication, which he hadn't received in the previous jail. The third Mom found me and pleaded for help for her incarcerated son. He had been raped by several inmates and was in fear of his life because he told someone in the prison system about it. These Mothers deserve compassion and understanding. I was able to put them each into the hands of loving and caring prison reform advocates in the states in which their sons are imprisoned.
These Mothers represent the hopelessness felt by millions of parents around the world who fear for their children's lives. Effective treatment is not easily available. However, without any treatment at all, there will be many more overdose deaths and deaths related to drugs.
I was once told a story about a young man who was addicted to heroin and lived on the other side of the state. He managed to get himself to the nearest city with an opiate substitution treatment center by hitchhiking. He signed up for methadone treatment and was told it could be as long as 3 months before there would be a place for him. This young man tried to go cold turkey because he desperately wanted sobriety. One night the withdrawal symptoms became intolerable, so he scored some heroin, took it back to the flop house where he had been staying, went into the dirty bathroom to inject his medicine. Sitting on the toilet, he injected the drug into his arm, and took his last breath. He died on that dirty toilet with the needle still in his arm.
Is there any hope? In my opinion not until the war on drugs is stopped! Billions of dollars are invested in the drug war. This money could provide effective treatment programs, finance research and educational, after school and mentoring programs. It seems like a no brainer, why can't our elected officials see it as clearly? Do they prefer death, violence, crime and disease that is spreading and infecting our young people? They want to save the owls and the whales, why can't they help save our children?