Since the 1970’s Comic Books have periodically looked at the world of drug abuse and the toll it takes on our young. Two landmarks in this area were storylines in Green Lantern and The Amazing Spiderman comics in which major characters were revealed to be hooked on drugs.
In these stories drugs were depicted as what they are…lethal weapons that the user turns on himself. I remember these books vividly and the images are still startling. The message was simple. Drugs and the world they come from are ugly and deadly.
But times have changed and there are some problems that even superheroes can’t solve. Today, more than ever, addictive drugs take a tragic toll on our young people. Most recently drug abuse has taken on a “respectable” disguise. No longer do we hear about Heroin, Cocaine or Acid…all words that conjure up dark images of the drug world. We no longer see the “pusher” on a street corner.
Today it’s all about “prescription” drugs. Except that all too often there IS no prescription and the internet is the pusher.
In short society has cleaned up drug’s “image”.
In the DC Storyline Justice league: The Rise Of Arsenal , Roy Harper (Speedy) is once again in a battle with drug addiction. But this time the drugs don’t come from a needle, cooked up in a spoon in a seedy flophouse. This time the drugs come from a bottle with little script on it. This time the drugs are “legit”. But they are no less deadly.
There is another difference. If Roy loses his battle with drugs, a fictional character dies. When our children lose the same battle they die for real. And our children don’t get to come back for Brightest Day. In the real world dead is dead. Think about it.
Check your email boxes on any given day. How many solicitations do you get for Vicodin or Oxycondone? Both are POWERFUL and ADDICTIVE pain killers. They also produce euphoria which makes them attractive as a “recreational” drug. If you have a responsible physician, these drugs are hard to get prescriptions for and almost never have a refill option.
But on the Internet you can get these drugs with no problem at all, and in virtually any quantity. The companies that sell these drugs online are more deadly than any stereotyped Pusher from an old Kojak episode. Online pushers can kill THOUSANDS through their neglect and complete disregard for the damage they do. Go to one of their sites. Yes there is a form to fill out, but all that does is give the pusher an alibi.
The CDC just finished a study that shows 20% of High School students abuse prescription drugs. That is more than coke, meth or ecstasy! And you can bet they are not JUST raiding mom and dad’s medicine chest.
From Business Week – June 3, 2010
“In the survey, 16,460 high school students were asked if they had ever taken prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin or Xanax, without a doctor's prescription.
The abuse of prescription drugs was widest among whites at 23 percent, followed by Hispanics at 17 percent, and black students at 12 percent.
In addition, the abuse of prescription drugs was most common among 12th graders (26 percent) and lowest among ninth graders (15 percent), the researchers found. But, prescription drug abuse was the same for boys and girls, at 20 percent.
This is the first time a question about prescription drugs has been asked in the survey, Eaton said. The next survey will be in 2011, with the data being released in 2012. This will be the first opportunity to see trends in the abuse of prescription drugs, she noted.”
Think it’s hard for a kid to get dangerous drugs from “The Net”? Check this out from Cleveland.com
“Internet makes illegal prescription drug sales easy
By Damon Sims
July 15, 2008, 10:17PM
With his homework in his hand, the kid would hop off the bus, walk half a block home and grab the mail.
"I've got to stuff to do," he'd tell the baby sitter as he closed the door to his room and ripped open the envelope he'd been waiting for, the one addressed, not to him, but the crazy name he'd made up just for this.
He was so grateful -- and relieved -- when he saw the package inside.
Once again, the money he'd wired had gotten through; the order arrived without customs agents stopping it; and he had another 90 tablets of Valium to help tame the anxiety therapists hadn't been able to.
And he was only 11 years old.
The sixth-grader was ordering prescription drugs off the Internet illegally. And his parents had no idea.
"I'd do it behind their backs on the computer," says the Olmsted Falls boy, who's 16 now and doesn't want to be identified.
"I figured it would be a hell of a lot easier getting them off the Internet instead of going to a bad part of town. It only takes about five minutes to do. It's real easy." “
Real easy. It’s also real easy to get REAL dead.
It is easy to identify the villain in the black hat who twirls his moustache and laughs maniacally as the train comes around the bend. It is a lot harder to combat the bad guy when he couches himself in the respectable image of a doctor or pharmacist. Online drug sales, as they exist today are nothing less than criminal. It has to be stopped or changed to make it IMPOSSIBLE for our children to buy narcotics over the Internet.
This column is for two of the best friends I ever had. They lost their child to the real life bad guys.
Be a HERO …talk about this. Write about this. Get ANGRY about this. Awareness is the best weapon we can wield against a villain far more deadly than any we find in a comic book.
The lives of our children are NOT negotiable items.