As an Addiction Treatment Provider, I believe it’s part of my mission to educate as many people about the mechanics of Addiction such that an environment that fosters Recovery can emerge. The trouble is that those who drive action within a community tend to be disconnected from the horrors of Addiction. That is, people who attend fundraisers and political parties and sit in positions of power really don’t often understand that their ignorance is part of a community’s problem with any given substance.
For example, here in Santa Fe, NM, the City Council seeks to overstep its bounds and pass laws that are “green” in nature. Every time we go to the grocery store, if we forget to bring our recyclable grocery bags, we have to pay ten cents for each paper bag we need. Then, a few months ago, this same governing body passed an ordinance that outlawed the sale of miniature and half-pints of alcohol on the grounds that they are a littering problem. Thankfully, a state district judge nullified the law on the grounds that the Council did not have the authority to pass a law governing alcohol in any way. It may appear that, as a treatment provider, I should applaud a law restricting alcohol sales. But I don’t. I see, rather, a governing body that wants to stifle businesses in any way it can. Newsflash: ALCOHOL AND DRUGS, IN AND OF THEMSELVES, ARE NEITHER GOOD NOR BAD.
However, these two laws present evidence about just how disconnected people who can make positive change are from the realities of the streets. We have a growing problem with heroin addiction. Now, we can blame cartels; we can blame “Mexicans” for bringing drugs here; heck, we can even blame “bad kids” who influence our “good kids.” But the painful reality is that we can only blame ourselves.
See, in Santa Fe, to win a council seat requires only around 1,000 votes. Not many people vote here, obviously, and those who do tend to pick candidates who share an agenda with them. I have nothing against an environmental or “animal-rights” agenda; I just value human lives over a “litter problem” or open spaces for dogs. By not actually being a part of the community, those in power have no clue what’s needed to foster positive change.
Economic oppression is part of a community’s Addiction problem. Here in Santa Fe, there’s very little reason to keep our best youth here. I myself encourage my son to get the hell out of here once he graduates. There’s no economy, unless you count the people who come here to watch us dance like monkeys for them. Here’s the thing: TOURISM IS NOT AN INDUSTRY. We need to create a means through which we can provide our youth with a sense of becoming. If there’s no reason to see a future, and if those in power appear to be about creating an even more difficult world, then why shouldn’t our youth turn to drugs and alcohol? What good is there to travel toward a bleak future?
WE have to take a collective look in the mirror and see ways WE are a part of the problem.