Letter to the Editor of the Times-Standard, Eureka, CA
In response to an open invitation for communal input concerning Humboldt County’s drug problems.
Let’s stop punishing people in pain.
Take the nickel and dime cop game out of the equation and address addiction as the medical issue it is, and the root causes as the societal issues they are. See some progress:
1. Decriminalize everything.
2. Immediately release and drop charges on all possession only cases; target high end traffickers in drugs of abuse ONLY (businessmen, politicians, developers). Push for more Psychedelic research, use, and education- the most interesting forgotten tool in addressing addictions since Bill Wilson and Tim Leary exchanged letters 50 years ago.
3. No more low level drug arrests at all. Zero. Police target high end traffickers only. (This is just the start, because prohibition does NOTHING to help addiction, only adds to the PRICE TAG, it’s on it’s way out)
This leaves money for:
1. The Addicted:
a. Safe use sites across the county where amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, methadone, etc. is given clean, sans street adulterants, no dirty needles, and no sex for the drugs. FREE OF CHARGE at supervised sites 3 x daily, with increased and improved counseling. What passes off as Addiction Studies Certification Program now is failed tired tactics from physicians and police justifying paychecks.
b. Increased improved supervised shelters and safe camping sites for the houseless. It’s an ever increasing mass that cannot be ignored and camping responsibly is A LOT cheaper than housing everyone at the Humboldt Hilton and continually cleaning up hazardous illegal campsites, often the same sites, every week. What’s the definition of insanity?
c. With the black market gone, safe housing and access to medicine, TREATMENT CAN BEGIN. For their clean and free drugs addicts will be cleaning and working for the city. Required jobs of anyone physically able. (Having spent time on the street in cities across this country I assure more will want the safety and the job than the continued life of punishment and pain)
d. INCREASE penalties on all other crimes: theft, rape, burglaries,…if you’re still out there committing crimes with safe access to medicine, you need locked up.
e. USE EVERY TOOL in the tool belt; The 12 Steps, Ibogaine and DMT, psychotherapy, sweat lodges, bench presses, non-processed foods…I could increase the list ad infinitum.
2. The On Their Way:
a. Drug education in schools that tells the truth about everything from sugar to cannabis to opium to Viagra.
b. Youth centers across the county including everything from boxing to basket weaving to badminton, basketball, batik, baking, building, etc etc etc . What do THEY want/need?? We ask them and provide.
c. Every kid has a unique talent but even the lucky few with parents teachers and coaches around—specifically ones who have come to terms with their own issues first—so many go mentor less, tutor less, directionless. With the need for community and connection so important, scrambling to fit in somewhere, drugs and gangs become the most readily available other option.
Narcotics Anonymous has blood on their hands, our hands. As still promoting itself as the “only game in town” it has created a divide between medicine and myth. Here’s the thing: sugar is the deadliest and costliest drug in our society, Drop the Abstinence myth. It’s an outright lie. Bill Wilson did not need to take a “War on Drugs” and its ramifications into account, and his address was to alcoholics, YET WE MUST. The best a collective of recovering addicts could come up in discerning NA’s dogma was Nixon’s Drug Scheduling? Cannabis is not heroin nor is it chocolate cake and the 13 year old girl that takes to the needle is not exactly like the 50 year old man that takes to the bottle.
We are not terminally unique nor need we recover on the bones of others. WE NEED EACH OTHER (and not for bones to recover on!). Recovery is not a contest, I really don’t care about your clean time other than to say I’m glad you’re alive and well today. When Darwin speaks of EVOLUTION, he speaks of Cooperation, not Competition. Exclusivity sucks, especially when it’s being served by one time bottom feeders. Anyone on whatever they need to survive that day needs to have a voice and a seat SOMEWHERE. If you are going to call yourself the “only game in town” make THAT seat available and tell the 20 yr repeat to keep quiet.
This is just a start. The problem runs so deep. The Need for More: gas, money, meetings, therapy, land, kids, sex, food, god, exercise, et al.. must be examined.
Little learned since we drained the once abundant Potomac River of its last fish, since ships routinely sank with the weight of clearcut forests on their way back to Spain. Our relationship to our environment, ourselves, each other, and our place in it, require serious review.