U.S. Drug Dealers: From The Curb to The Suburb

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“You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money, and you don’t know where the f%%% it’s gonna take you.” -HBO’s The Wire

“The American Dream” is often sold and packaged with terms like “freedom of speech” and “equal opportunity”. I, on the other hand, believe that no speech is ever free and that equality is a pipe dream sold to patrons at the casinos in Las Vegas. The so called “American Dream” of our great country has and will forever be defined by one word and one word only; capitalism. We pledge our allegiance and cover our hearts in unison for the star and stripes, all while entrusting what this country values the most to God, which is the almighty dollar. In fact, if we revisit the roots of dehumanization throughout American history, from the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of blacks to the Civil & Revolutionary Wars; a lust for money has always been at the undeniable forefront of the odium contingencies in all instances. Greed and Glutton are amongst the seven deadly sins, as they are the truest elements of over indulgence due to the fact that they both blatantly disregard the needs of others. Matthew 19:24 states “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” This is not to indict those who are successful and have fulfilled their potential at the highest level, as it is often an individuals “sweat-equity” that catapults him or her to the top of their respective fields. In fact, a self-made individual should be commended and admired. But success is not what this is about. I am concentrating on the “at any cost” individual or group, that will feed you poison and call it baby food. I am talking about the individual(s) who will run over an elderly person and blame them for being in the way. Yes I am talking about the true menaces to society; the street drug dealer and the suburban cartel better known as pharmaceutical companies.

The word “pharmacology” originates from two words in the classic Greek language; “Pharmakon”, which means poison and “Logia” which means the study of. From an inquiring mind that wants to know, I often wonder who determines what is a good poison versus a bad poison? The FDA is said to be the organization responsible for protecting and promoting public health through regulatory standards, however, we see a factual amount of their “acceptable products” being advertised on television with a long list of dangerous disclaimers as it relates to side effects. Often times, the images associated with “drug dealers” are that of the urban indigenous minority, who blares hip music, speaks with street vernacular and is believed to have no remorse for selling a dangerous poison to their community. Well this description is accurate “if” you allow television and movies to carve out your perception; however, can we not align those same profiling staples to that of a pharmaceutical representative as well? Do they not in theory, peddle “their” drugs to would be clients while dressing to impress, all for a financial gain with no regards to the potential side effects or addictive aspects that their product could inflict? Many may believe that I am stretching the proverbial rubber band with my analogy, however when we examine the information compiled by WebMD, we find a laundry list of prescription and over the counter drugs that are commonly being abused. Amongst the list are the following drugs: Barbiturates, Valium, Vicodin, Xanax, Ambien, Codeine, Percocet and Robitussin. When we factor in another FDA approved drug, tobacco, we find that the depth of the “addiction well” seems to be somewhat bottomless. For so long, marijuana, cocaine, heroin and now Molly’s, were all considered the gold standard for recreational drugs, but now we see more and more cases of doctors losing their practices and doing prison stints for writing unwarranted prescriptions in exchange for money. Opioid Pain Relievers, in a study conducted by CDC, were said to be responsible for more deaths than illegal narcotics in 2011. So the question remains, who determines what is a good poison versus a bad poison? Who decides what is illegal versus legal and by what standard is that determined or judged by? If the legal drugs like alcohol, tobacco, over the counter and prescription drugs are killing just as many people as other illegal drugs, then should all drugs be made legal? Alcohol is by far more destructive from a societal standpoint (I.E.: vehicular homicide, domestic violence, sexual assaults) where as marijuana has been proven to be the complete opposite. So dare one conclude that economics plays a part in this? Does the fact that marijuana could be manufactured in anyones back yard and require no government assistance (a.k.a. taxes) play a part in why it remains illegal? They cannot say its for public safety reasons, as the FDA has shown us time and time again that they don’t give a mother scooter about our well being, given their questionable track record regarding safe drugs versus unsafe drugs. So can we conclude that if we follow the money trail, that its path will begin where the moral compass of the drug distributors end? Maybe this is the dichotomy of the “American Fiend” to that of the “American Dream”. Perhaps this is our brains on drugs. Where is Nancy Reagan’s fried egg when you need it?

Such an interesting calamity is the evolution of the U.S. drug dealer, as his plight has gone from the curbs to the suburbs. The power of stereotypical imagery has us searching for the Tony Montana’s and Nino Browns of the world, instead of focusing on the non fictional criminals like Dr. William Conway, Dr. Michael Durante and the infamous Dr. Conrad Murray. Our country is by far the largest drug store in the world on many different levels, whether on the streets, over the counter, in a doctors office and dare I say even at our own dinner tables. Who decides what is a good poison and a bad poison, may be answered with a simple response which is, it depends on whose hand is in whose pocket. The American public lacks awareness and at the same time trust that others have their best interest at heart. Maybe America needs to listen to more classic Rhythm and Blues, as it was the famous group The O’Jays who stated a long time ago that “for the love of money, people don’t care who they hurt or beat”. As we move forward in time, where the public at large will end up is still debatable; however much like U.S history, until the truth is revealed, drugs and the driving components behind it will forever lay in the shadowy mist of street corners and well lit doctors’ offices. This country, for all its greatness, will only further fracture it’s foundation and ultimately fall on its own sword if we continue to remain parked in stalled-out cars on the information highway, waiting to be towed towards information by others. #I-smh often

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