Columnist: Have you really ever danced with the devil?

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 11, 2016

By Glenn Dowell

Contributing columnist

Many of us convert to Christianity and other religions. There are some people, however, judging by their addictions, who appear to worship drugs such as heroin and cocaine, believed by addicts to be straight out of the devil’s laboratory.

If you have watched any news over the past several months, you know that there are over 600,000 heroin addicts living within the borders of the United States. In the New England states alone, medical personnel attend to more than five heroin overdoses on a daily basis.

Once you allow yourself to become converted to heroin the first time, you are hooked. It makes you work for it, steal for it, and yes, even to murder for it.

We must not forget, however, a new kind of drug that hit the streets in the early 1980s in south-central Los Angeles. It was called “crack.”

Health care professionals in the area at the time were flooded with patients who in some instances appeared in their offices looking like zombies. Persons hooked on this drug were different from other addicts they had treated.

In researching this new drug, health care professionals discovered that crack blocks pain sensation and stimulates the central nervous system. It causes pleasurable sensations to be passed along the neutral pathways over and over again creating a feeling of profound well-being, self-confidence, alertness and in some a feeling of sexual prowess.

In the black neighborhood crack was called “white woman.” That’s because at the time it was forbidden, against the law, and to the user or seller, it was just plain risky being caught with it.

My former neighbor, a rapper — whose stage name ironically, was Kilo — made quite a lot of money off a song he titled “Don’t Ride No White Horse.” The reference to “white horse” was alleged to have referred to the dangers of using cocaine, which was spreading throughout country.

This was one dangerous drug to develop a treatment plan for in working with addicts. Crack caused an abnormal and aggressive stimulation of the central nervous system, which accounted for the difficulty.

Crack forces addicts to crave it, and at all cost. Addicts around the country explained it as dancing and flirting with the devil.

This drug was affordable to all who had a few dollars to spare. From the rich kid on the privileged side of the track, to the poor user who felt that he needed something, anything that could vicariously transport him to some other place other than the black ghetto where he lived — crack was the solution.

Tough day at the office, friend? Wife giving you a hard time? Want to experience mega-sex? There was no need to fret, all you had to do was to try a little crack.

Like a good preacher, crack has been called alluring, electrifying and even soothing, but crack cocaine is always a predator. It has one thing in mind: the complete control of your soul.

A view up close of an addict being tormented.

A few years ago I personally witnessed a 30-year-old young man being tormented by his addiction to crack cocaine. I hired him to mow my lawn.

After about an hour I observed him outside walking continuously in a circle. He had a puzzled expression on his face and appeared to be having a conversation with something or someone. I approached him, maintaining a safe distance in case he would conceivably become violent.

I discovered after querying him that he was a recovering addict and thought that he smelled crack in the air. I provide this true incident to reinforce my argument concerning the dangerous allure of crack cocaine.

Some say rather sarcastically that crack cocaine is a creation straight from the devil’s own lab. It appears to force the user to worship it.

In the case of the young man mowing my lawn, to even work for it. He told me that every time he received money from working, crack would call him, demanding that it be spent to finance his continued spiral into worthlessness. He confessed that he once had a family with children.

After converting to crack, he would have every intention of taking his money home to support the family, but crack won every time. He said that he did not have the power to resist the drug. He realized that he had to choose between his family and crack — he chose crack and lost his family.

If you have a loved one whose behavior has changed dramatically and may exhibit violent tendencies, seek help immediately. Sure signs of addiction include withdrawal from loved ones, stealing from family members, lying and a growing lack of attention to hygiene.

If your answer is yes, let them know today that they do not have to continue “dancing with the devil.”

Glenn Dowell is an author and LaGrange native who currently lives in Jonesboro. He may be reached at