Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Death By Overdose

Death by overdose is always sad.  When a gifted artist dies of drug overdose or from stupidity related to substance abuse, that death seems to cut a deeper and wider swath than say the death of some junkie found in an alley with a needle in his arm.  I am of the mind that neither rates more or less grief than the other.  The user knew the risks and continued to poison themselves for whatever reason.

I just re-read the first paragraph and realized that it reads harsh and maybe a tad cold.  I thought about trying to tip toe my way into this post about drug addiction, and realized that Reality suits my mood better than hand wringing platitudes.  Drug and alcohol abuse are ugly realities of the human existence.



I know of what I speak because I was a drug addict for a time back in the day.  I abused alcohol for a period also.  I sit here now at age 62 contemplating the bad boy shit I pulled and all I can think of is "What the Hell was I thinking?"   I sit here at age 62 and know that if someone were to offer me some toot, some smack, I might just cave.  Nothing feels like good drugs.  Sex feels as good, but it is a different good.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman died with a needle in his arm.  I understand he had been clean for over twenty years.  I wonder if an old drug buddy caught him in a weak moment and got him going again.  I know that is my fear and the one reason I make no effort to contact the people I did drugs with back in the day.  And even though it has been over 35 years since I did any hard drugs, I know myself pretty well by now and it would not take much for me to cave to the rush.

What pisses me off about drugs, alcohol and tobacco is that our society seems to think one is worse than the others.  Our laws allow the use and sale of two of the biggest causes of death, yet the law considers drugs  to be the ultimate evil.  And death from drugs is but a blip on the "why people die chart" compared to Alcohol and Tobacco.  This hypocritical attitude in my opinion is a main contributor to the scoff law mentality that has saturated our culture.

Suddenly with the death of a celebrity and the rise in OD's from Heroin, panties are getting bunched all over.  Get a grip.  We cannot keep people from what they want.  Chasing the Dragon will always be with us.  We have proven that we cannot legislate it away.  Incarceration does not help.  Maybe it is time to assess some of the European efforts to deal with drugs.  Rather than punish an addict, many countries put the money  previously wasted on trials and jail to different methods like counseling, clean needles, and in some cases, clean drugs.  Often providing drugs of a known quality will cut down on the petty crime associated with drug use.  I only mention the notion we should look to alternatives than continuing the same failed polices we have been using for as long as I can remember.  It is another wake up call people, don't let our leaders punch up the snooze button.

Later..........................................

12 comments:

Tom Harper said...

He had some great films and will be missed. The first few movies I saw him in -- The Talented Mr. Ripley and Scent of a Woman -- I had him typecast as a sheltered obnoxious preppie. But The Master and Capote -- he was one hell of an actor.

R.I.P.

MRMacrum said...

Tom Harper - He will indeed be missed. His performance in "Capote" was one of the finest pieces of acting I have ever seen.

BBC said...

I had never heard of him until he died. As for drugs, I've never tried any other than a little pot, that I didn't get into. Like my booze though, just not too much of it.

susan said...

It's true there are no easy answers to this dilemma. His loss is sad for all of us.

BBC said...

His loss is sad for all of us.

I can't feel sad for someone I never even heard of before. Hell, when Elvis died (and I knew of and liked him) it was like, "Okay, Elvis died, lets move on."

Besides, no one feels sorry for anyone anymore after two two mouse clicks.

PresterJohn said...

Another example why drug abuse needs to be a personal medical/public health issue, not a felony criminal one. Legalize the shit.

MRMacrum said...

BBC - Had you wanted to do harder drugs, I am guessing the legality would not stop you, given your ingrained contrariness.

susan - No easy solution yes, but our current policies are just making it harder.

PresterJohn - I'm with you. Laws do not keep people from the demons they crave.

BBC said...

I suppose I never tried other drugs cuz no one ever offered them to me.

Mr. Charleston said...

First, like you, I too have tried a bunch of stuff but fortunately, I don't have an addictive personality and it was all simply recreational pleasure. Except for alcohol. I can't honestly say I'm an alcoholic, but I do and have imbibed my entire life.
I believe all drugs should be legal. Takes the criminal element out of it, identifies who the addicts are for treatment, and leaves the recreational users free to enjoy themselves.

MRMacrum said...

BBC - All in all, you are better off.

Mr Charleston - You summed it up perfectly - America talks the talk of a free society. A truly free society is a messy society. Freedom without the mess cannot exist.

Ol'Buzzard said...

I agree that one life is not better than another - but the too early loss of a talent is sad: Janis Joplin and Big Mama Cass for example - and many others.
the Ol'Buzzard

MRMacrum said...

Ol'Buzzard - I agree it is a shame to lose someone so talented. But looking at the issue of drug addiction, well, shit happens.