I was at a bachelor party a few years for a friend of mine who was about to get married. The party was in New York City at an exclusive club and all the people seemed successful. They all had very good jobs. The majority of them had families and each seemed stable and well adjusted. After the dinner, I went to the bathroom and ended up standing with my good friend Alex waiting for a stall to open. He said that we’d be there forever if we didn’t do something. It seemed the whole dinner party was doing drugs in the stalls. He winked at me then kicked down 2 of the stall doors. Inside those stalls were the people from our dinner party snorting cocaine… huddled as if around a campfire, each trying to get their fix.
As Alex kicked the bathroom doors in, the drugs went flying as the men scrambled out of the stalls thinking they had been busted by either the police or the bouncer. However, once they saw it was my friend Alex who had created the havoc, they all turned on him cursing and screaming for scaring the hell out of them. More importantly, it seemed ,was their anger over the wasted cocaine. I’m not uninformed. I know people do drugs. But, I never thought this group of people would be doing drugs. To be so open about it and to risk doing it in such a public place, left me dumbfounded.
Alex was a broker on Wall Street and his job was to entertain people. He told me “all of my clients do drugs.”
Once we returned to the table, I couldn’t look at the people in quite the same way. Given the high profile nature of Wall Street jobs, none of the major firms wants their employees to end up in the newspapers. I am a firm believer in personal freedom. However, with freedom comes personal responsibility. The way I looked at it, these guys were taking huge risks for a moment of pleasure. I’ve seen plenty of people fired for getting caught doing stupid stuff and it can alter your career, not to mention your life, forever.
Coincidentally, a few weeks later I drove to Massachusetts for a small get-together. I ended up drinking beer with a DEA agent who worked drug enforcement all over the country. As we enjoyed our beers he regaled me with stories of the drug trade in the U.S. He told me he had been in the DEA for over 25 years and over the last 5 years he had never been busier. I thought that was ironic given that as far as I knew drug use had gone down over recent years. He said that the DEA figures estimate drug use in the United States at over 70% of the population! I was shocked. He further explained that you have to look at drug use through a different lens-given the rise of the pharmaceutical industry. It’s simply a fact that more and more people were getting addicted to pharmaceutical drugs. “The doctors are the new drug dealers” he informed me. Brene Brown, American scholar, author and public speaker has said, “For the first time in history the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that drug overdose is the leading cause of death now beating automobile deaths. More people die from prescription drugs overdoses obtained from their friends, relatives and physicians.”
As the DEA Agent and I continued to talk, he suggested a small test. “Next time you’re in New York City count the amount of pharmacies you see.” So, the next day when I was back in NY I did just that. I counted 4 large pharmacies in my 3 block area. That’s 1 1/3 per block! When I grew up there in the 70’s I might have been lucky to find 1 pharmacy every 10 blocks. Now it appeared there was probably 1 every 2 blocks. All I could of think was when did this happen? The bottom line is that these pharmacies wouldn’t be there if there were not customers (aka “users”) seeking what they are selling (aka “pushing”).
Personally, I don’t take any type of drugs. That’s the mirror I hold up to my children. When I do get sick and take the over the counter drugs I get completely knocked out. I remember a few years ago I had to take a cold medicine while at work and ended up in the infirmary taking a nap as I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Today, due to its potency and likelihood of being used by kids as part of a drug cocktail, many pharmacies now keep cold medicines behind the counter.
Why are our kinds on drugs? Perhaps we should start with their parent’s medicine cabinet for the answer. “Do as I say and not as I do” has never worked. Nowhere is that truer than when 70% of one generation is doing something it is judging and condemning in the next generation.
From this vantage point, what is happening to our society all begins to make sense. Our government could not be doing what it is in fact doing if the citizens were awake and aware of the ever-encroaching centralized control and police state that now confronts us. Our politicians routinely break the law because they know that neither the justice system nor the media will hold them accountable. The citizens, for their part, are conveniently too distracted and sedated to care thanks to a joint effort between big pharmaceutical companies and big government
For the rest of us who are sober, clean, awake and aware…watching the U.S implode is like watching a fatal car crash in slow motion.