The drug/medication road that we are heading down. As a young Californian teacher, I was invited to a drug (LSD included) party by an eighth grader. My innocence - shocked - even with the informed knowledge that marijuana (Mary Jane) proliferated in home parties. I replied, "Sure!" thinking as a former Minnesotan, that I was being 'taken' twice by this innocent aged 13 year old. The student replied while I stood, mouth a gaped," Well, it's on Jeremy"s land in the field behind. See you Saturday." Dumb-founded innocent me.
Fast forward a few more years later to Rochester. My innocence and societies' denial defense mechanism were more apparent. I volunteered for community service. The topic, teenage drug issues in our city. Issues and drug evaluation for governmental support and interventions. There were about six members from local services. I was the public school's teacher component. To paraphrase the committee's chairperson. "We don't have a serious problem here." I felt a cold realization flow over me. Chills in my bones like a cold coming. Addiction comes from 'bad' parents and poor home conditions. Good kids don't use drugs! BAM, hello, this is the underlying shame aspect 'raising its ugly head'.
With treatment addicted children get better, work, and play. Without help for their "unsighted" disease what will be the costs?
Take Mark, an eleven year old child on the psychiatry unit for instance. Off the unit he had often chosen not to obey his mother. She would called the sheriff's department or increased his trazodone doses. The intake hospital notes reported that she had said,"Making Mark sleep helps them all."
She had called from a local bar where she had been asked by the town drunk (police report's term) if she knew where her son was. She requested that this drunk keep Mark there until she got there. She had no idea Mark was not in his room.
In her words he had run away. Actuality, Mark had run from the bar and had been tackled in a parking lot by the drunk. A fight ensued involving onlookers who suspected the drunk of attacking the boy for sexual favors or kidnapping.
Mark's family had not been vested in the hospital program. The family appears vested in themselves, not Mark. Mark wi remain in lock-in until the police puzzle through the mixed reports. The hospital personnel filed parental protection papers, but the county stated that there was not enough clear documentation.
Oh, how hope cloaked in denial of problems hides societies' level of shame and denial of the necessity of medical costs to help these people. (The federal government estimates $700 billion a year for health care, law enforcement, and work lost. Addiction kills an estimated 28,000 a year.)
These children are not commodities. We are over-simplifying by staging war between misguided solutions of 'swat on the bottom' and the bottom line.
Am I innocent now? No!
Kaye is a teacher and author of multiple works including Valerie Valentine Visits Vincent Vampire