↓ Archives ↓

Posts Tagged → generation

Drugs are destroying the next generation

Over the past weeks, the stories in the press and among friends and family about destructive drug use are overwhelming. Overwhelming in number and in sadness, these reports spell a problem for the next generation.

Young people in their teens, twenties, dying from drug overdoses. These are otherwise together and with-it young people, who looked forward to fulfilling careers and family life. Or going to jail, as did one young man I have known since he was born.

My own two older kids report back on their brushes with “casual” drug use, describing to their mother and I with some hilarity the carefree antics of their fellows using hard drugs and “recreational” drugs, like marijuana.

But nothing is funny about this. It is terrifying.

Yesterday I read that 33,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2015. This is not your grandfather’s “pot”; rather, it is an unknown witches’ brew of various toxins and addictive drugs all mixed together. Usually these mixes are designed by drug dealers to get people hooked, so they come and buy more drugs. But these mixes are killing a lot of people, or destroying their careers and their families.

At the Middle Paxton Township building this morning, I saw a flyer for an upcoming community meeting about opioid abuse. So many regular families have it.

Yesterday I sent two emails to my two daughters:

“Girls, I love you both so so so much. All your lives I’ve stayed up late comforting you when you were sick, or when you were anxious about social situations, or about school. Doing that is what fathers do, and I wish I could do it again now, because I am scared.

Now you are young adults and independent, living out of our home, and free to make even fatal decisions. Your mother and I are not near you to warn you, watch you, or stop you from making bad decisions. When your mother and I  were young, very few bad decisions we could have made carried serious risk. Smoking marijuana was smoking a dried up leaf, and it either made you feel sick, or stupid.

Today, the risks from bad decisions are huge because the outcomes are so fast and are irreversible. Someone offers you marijuana and you think “what the heck, it’s just one puff,” but you don’t know what’s in it.
You know what is in so many marijuana cigarettes today? HEROIN.

HEROIN is bad by itself, but today not even heroin is heroin. Now it’s laced with other drugs.
You can’t only “try” heroin ONCE, because that ONE TIME leaves you an addict. Your life is over after you become an addict. There is no recovery.

Everything you do after “trying” heroin and cocaine is to try to get more drugs to satisfy the craving.
Your life goes downhill immediately after you try heroin. And cocaine.
I’m writing to you right now because story after story after story is coming in from news reports and from family and from friends about how the “little” drugs led to more powerful drugs, which led to the end of someone’s life. People we know, kids like you.

Kids who felt indestructible.
Bulletproof.
Indomitable.
Healthy.

On Friday I spoke with an old friend of mine. She’s a lawyer. She’s now a drug addict, getting divorced, losing her home, losing the man who loved her, losing her profession.

She said “Josh, I am so so scared. I have nowhere to go.”

The result of trying cocaine and heroin is either death, or drug addiction so powerful that the young person can no longer function at a professional or self-sustaining level.

Life is about making wise choices, smart choices. Drug use, illegal behavior, risky behavior like driving fast or walking alone, and sexual behavior have never before carried so much potential to destroy everything you and I have worked for, for your own success, so quickly.

DO NOT EVEN TRY DRUGS. There is no benefit to them at all.

NO DRUG IS COOL.

NO DRUG IS SAFE.

LEAVE THE COMPANY OF PEOPLE WHO USE DRUGS.

These people will pressure you to join them in their stupidity and misery, and your life will forever be over in the one second it takes for you to “just try” it.

MAKE SMART DECISIONS.

I love you both so very very much.
-Dad”

 

Garden as metaphor, Part 3…or 4

Can anyone think of a better metaphor for life as a human than a garden?

All the planning, selecting, planting, nurturing, stoking, prodding, coaxing, frustration, re-planting, and finally, after all the work and with some luck, the harvesting of fresh food…this is all just like the bigger things in our lives.

Lately it has been difficult to ignore some generational changes afoot that simply cannot bode well for our nation, now or in the future.

Where debate historically involved logic, facts, and reasoning, a great deal of what is represented as debate is simple ridicule, mockery, dismissiveness.

Few things demonstrate the weakness of an argument more than the use of ridicule and mockery, or name-calling. Yet the Internet is full of this waste of time. Because of my own passion for and involvement in tough policy issues, I am really interested to hear separate points of view from people, and spirited debate, give-and-take, is part of that process. This process is what makes Western Civilization so unique and so precious.

Dismissiveness assumes all will be well, no matter what, irrespective of actions or behaviors across the landscape.

In my observation, the younger generations are much more inclined to forgo logic and facts, and are more inclined to leap into name calling and ridicule in their online debates. This just cannot bode well for American democracy, which is based on the use of logic, reason, and facts. How our citizens expect to hold on to their Constitutional rights and liberties, and yet allow debate to be dominated by juvenile behavior is not wild speculation. Already we have witnessed the erosion of individual liberties at the hands of judges who don’t care what the US Constitution says, or what their particular state constitution says; their basis for decisions making is purely personal, or political.

So go grow a garden, fellow citizens. Tending even a small garden helps us work physical and mental muscles that atrophy easily. It builds small but important personal traits that are needed on a much bigger scale. Tending, cultivating, and nurturing all build basic skills necessary for us to function well as individuals and for our civilization to succeed on the whole.

The alternative – relying on everyone else for everything else we need, and ridiculing the rest – is a recipe for disaster.