There’s an Opioid crisis across North America. There’s also a severe double standard in response to that crisis. It’s like a sick joke. The double standard is so palpable.
For months now outlets across Canada and the United States have been printing articles, doing tv and radio interviews and generally making efforts to humanize and discuss the Opioid crisis. I’ll admit that I’m having a bit of trouble trying to conjure up my usual sympathy. Part of me is grateful that we’ve come far enough as a society to be compassionate when dealing with addicts, but the other part of me, the Woke, part cannot get over the incredible double standard at play here.
For decades, black people have been incarcerated for drug related offences for at rates so high in the US that it has destroyed entire communities and raised alarm bells internationally as a human rights issue. (And let’s not even mention how the drugs got into the communities in the first place). Canada is no different, there are black children in Canada sitting in youth detention centres for possession of marijuana, which white kids purchase at store fronts in downtown Toronto.
And now without irony, the New York Daily news has posted an article titled ‘How Rikers Island, Justice System killed a young Opioid addict’, accompanied with a picture of an innocent looking young man a baby. Yes, it’s a sad story…but does no one see the irony here? How can they publish this with a straight face when there are ENTIRE communities of black men, and women sitting in prison for crimes exactly like what is being discussed in the article?
In the 80s and 90s, when it was a crack epidemic, the kids were known as crack babies, they were taken away from their parents, there was story after story about these babies born addicted to drugs me how it affects their behaviour. The problems we as a society would have on our hands in the future. Black addicts were fiends (which literally means a devil). Grandparents were raising kids and given no support or acknowledgement- unlike the article I saw a few days ago about white grandparents, praising them for being heroes of the epidemic.
When it was black communities ravaged by drugs and not rural white communities, there was no discussion about safe injection sites as there is in Canada now. It’s unbelievable to me, they want to create safe spaces for junkies to be junkies simply because now that a drug crisis has hit white communities, there’s an emotional connection and realization that criminalization doesn’t work. It wasn’t as if there weren’t black people with great jobs falling pray to drugs before either, like the story I read about a former lawyer who died in a New York alley recently from an overdose.
The undercurrent in all these stories is that these are VALUABLE lives being wasted and as such, understanding must be had, because this could be our kids, our sisters or brothers. But that was always the case. The only difference was colour.
This is also the reason that my kids will never have the opportunity to ‘experiment’ with drugs and why ill have to explain to them on Friday and Saturdays when they are in high school that it’s unlikely they’ll be going to those parties and hang outs, because for them consequences of using drugs- even just dabbling are very different. For them, there will be no understanding, no second chances no sympathy and no articles written about how the system has wronged them.