Guest Author - Susan Hubenthal
A few years ago, I was contacted by three different Mothers whose son?s had been incarcerated for drug related crimes. It's an old story, but one that needs repeating. Two of these young men also have mental health issues and needed medication. One had been arrested for cocaine and paraphernalia possession. He was in and out of treatment for a few years, and then was given the option for drug court instead of incarceration. Another is awaiting trial in another state; he also has a mental illness and needed medication, which he hadn?t received in the previous jail. The third Mom found me by the grace of God, pleading 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. Thank goodness, there were 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 disease and 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 have been invested in the drug war. This money could provide effective treatment programs, finance research and honest 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 won?t they help save our children?