Recent gatherings of recovery and law enforcement people in Washburn and Sawyer counties (WI) discussed addiction. Good people doing their best in a battle we’re losing.
In Viet Nam, we lost 58,000 friends and neighbors to war. Now, we lose 30,000 to 60,000 friends and neighbors each year to many kinds of drugs. A mind-boggling number.
Big Progressive government began criminalizing drug use 100 years ago with Prohibition. Drug use was never a crime anywhere before that. Now, after 60 million arrests, drug abuse is much worse than ever.
Drug use is inherently a medical / mental health issue, not a criminal one. Large-scale illicit drug commerce is criminal, of course, as is selling drugs to kids. But friends and neighbors who use drugs should be treated like friends and neighbors, not criminals. Nor are they cattle. They are our brothers and sisters.
Such a humane shift in perspective is hard. We’re used to soulless bureaucratic control. Love is out of the question. Asking Jesus for guidance is virtually illegal.
Karl Marx called religion the opiate of the masses. Progressive idealists set out to transform us for the better by freeing us from religion. Somehow along the way, this encouraged the use of real opiates. Our transformers failed to see that freeing us from religion freed us from our religion’s spiritual values. Now, we’re boiling away in an amoral soup, like sad dumb frogs.
Most of those attracted to drugs use them. Few are deterred by risk or laws. It’s about pain. Despair and hope for relief seduces people who have ineffective spiritual practice. Seeking relief in drugs makes people mistaken, but does not, itself, make them criminals. They’re trying to fill a hole in their heart, in their soul, a hole once filled by a possible God. It can’t be filled by worldly things like drugs, sex, money, power.
When we had a God and we were bad, we knew we were bad, and knew we could do better. Now, we’re secular smart; we know there’s no God. We know we’re lost in a void forever. We have no Jesus telling us we’re forgiven. We’re not fooled by silly religion anymore.
We’d better wise up and try love again – and stop hating. We need each other in ways we may not yet see. Loving drug abusers – sometimes very tough love – and helping them to survive will help us all survive.