What we can do about youth drug problem

Published 3:58 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Can anything really be done about the drug epidemic in our country? Very few families in America have been unaffected by a loved one, relative or a friend who has not succumbed to the allure of drugs.

As I have said in numerous columns, I don’t understand why addiction destroys so many lives each year, especially among our younger generation.

It appears as if we have become immune to the various stories which are thrust into the media spotlight that describe and report of a crazed individual wreaking unimaginable havoc. A metro-Atlanta news station released a video recently of a drug-crazed young man high on methamphetamine who literally destroyed a restaurant, attacking patrons in the process.

This young man, weighing less than 140 pounds, appeared to have superhuman strength.

The news video revealed that it took more than five law enforcement officers using Tasers in the process to restrain him.

It is sad.

Drugs are ruining so many lives, and those who use them — in too many instances — destroy and take the lives of others. Homicides due to drugs, especially in major cities, are reported as if they are casualties of a war. In gangs, which our youth join, our youth supposedly feel like family but don’t realize before joining that using and selling drugs come with the membership.

In fact, youth become involved in gangs because initially from the outside, they are attracted to the possibility of making easy money. They become even more impressed by what they see in the movies — young drug kingpins, who just happen to be in gangs, who live lavish lives and, in many instances, furnished drugs to communities in which they reside.

The bottom line, however, is that even in the movies, there are no long-term success stories for persons who get caught in the tentacles of using or selling drugs.

Pursuant to this, we must assist our youth in recognizing some of the media messages that television and other mediums send out about our lives which influence our thinking.

This will assist them in beginning the process of separating the real from the unreal.

How do we get the message to our youth, to change their dangerous path?

As we now know, the Just Say No campaign, promoted during the Reagan administration to discourage youth from using drugs was a failure from the beginning.

In fact, there is considerable evidence to show that drug selling and usage increased among youth in the country. 

Each of us can contribute to the efforts to save our children and to empower them to make rational decisions, which conform to societal norms.
In essence, you cannot disparage honest efforts at addressing the problem, but in reality, the problem of youth selling drugs killing each other, and ultimately using drugs is so critical, that an all-out war utilizing multifaceted approaches is certainly necessary to save our children.