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Reflecting on the Emmitsburg Coalition to Prevent Drug Abuse Take 3

Jack Deatherage, Jr.'s

I actually learned something about drugs that I didn't already know. I was also surprised at the last ECPDA meeting when more than 3 people showed up to listen to the police explain the how, when, what and where of drug enforcement. There may have been 20 people? Many new faces!

What really caught my attention was the cop's explanation of how he must conduct himself when he is targeting a suspected drug dealer/pusher. It used to be I would see 4 or 6 state trooper cars parked in pairs at different ends of Emmitsburg. I would tell someone I knew to be using drugs that a bust was coming down and they would spread the word rather quickly among our dealing acquaintances. I don't recall any of my drinking/doping buddies getting busted by the state police, but I watched a couple of drug raids take out some young adults who were very stupid in their dealings. The cop explained how those raids were conducted and why he isn't doing them now.

Evidently some elected official (my speculation, the cop merely said the laws were changed) was either busted or had family members and/or close friends nailed for dope dealing. (I've noticed that anytime something works it is a safe bet our lawmakers will "fix" it.)

Sometime during the Peoples Party control of the state, it was decided a warrant for a drug raid could no longer be issued simply because a significant number of people, many of them known drug users, were visiting a location that housed a suspected dealer/pusher for short periods of time (like, long enough to buy some weed, powder or pills). The new and improved law required someone to enter the suspected drug den, make a purchase and present it to the police. Then the search warrant could be written! Of course this puts the dope buyer/informant at serious risk, but it also cuts down on the number of drug arrests and over-crowding of our prisons and courts. The latter can carry on the serious business of making lawyers wealthy by way of harassment suits and idiots fighting over who has to take the kids and who gets to keep the dog.

I'm not much concerned about people using drugs illegally. The adult potheads I know use marijuana to medicate themselves. Few people are willing to do the work that might make them a "better" person if a pill or a joint can bring them peace now. Our society encourages this mentality. Overweight? Try this pill! Have a temper problem? Are you depressed, or do you think you are depressed? Have you tried this pill? Do you suffer indigestion (from eating foods you know cause the problem)? Use this pill so you can enjoy life!

Hardly anyone urges us to change our habits to improve our lives because it hurts to make changes!

When my average intake of alcohol was 18 cans of beer at a sitting, and 30 cans when I had the money, I was in a state of almost constant hangover, which kind of put me in a bad mood. The bad mood grew worse as my binge drinking grew greater. Someone suggested I try marijuana to reduce the hangovers. I did and it didn't. But another someone had told me that pot numbed him. Left him aware of what was happening around him, but took the edge off the need to do anything about it. He suggested I use pot for that purpose.

BINGO! My world could be going down the crapper around me, the hangovers magnifying it, if not causing it. A couple of hits on a pipe or joint, a couple of minutes for the numbing to take hold and I could wade through the garbage of my life, doing the things that needed done, not giving a damn about all the rest of it. The illegality of using the drug didn't bother me. I knew cops who smoked it. It was certainly easy enough to get, but expensive in the small amounts I used.

The downside (there is ALWAYS a downside) the drug did not FIX anything! It allowed me to ignore all the warnings my body and mind were screaming at me. The binge drinking was wrecking my mind, which wasn't too stable to begin with, and leaving me shaking and sick for days after a good drunk. The marijuana took the mental edge off the hangovers and gave me the choice of bingeing again without so much suffering afterward.

If I'd started using pot sooner I might still be using today. But I had already decided the binge drinking had to stop. The pleasure I got from being drunk no longer outweighed the pain of the hangovers. Just like tobacco, the alcohol went by the wayside. The marijuana went with it.

Unlike the marijuana and tobacco I'm using alcohol again. Not much, but use it I do. Maybe 6 ounces at the end of a day. Not every day, but when I want a warm glow in my belly and a slight buzz as I close my eyes. The aches and pain of the day slowly numbing as I drift into sleep.

So I'm a hypocrite? Look the word up. I don't think I've written anywhere that drugs shouldn't be used by people as they please. I have written that some people use them and abuse them, myself included. I also don't think our elected officials are any better at determining what is good for us than we are, though they certainly think they know better than we do! (After all, the few of us who bother to vote are often simple enough to think someone else can fix our problems for us.)

It took me 10 years of binge drinking to come to my senses. My wife got drunk once in her life and figured out that alcohol was to be respected! Different people, different paths to the same conclusion. Life is like that. All the upbringing in the world, all the lectures and explanations don't mean nothing compared to personal experience.

Which is not to say everyone should get drunk or try heroine. There are good reasons to avoid drugs in general and we do have laws that attempt to lessen the damage done by those who have to experience things for themselves. I admire the young adult who can hear that alcohol can be used to destroy a life and/or lives, and decides never to touch it. On the other hand help should be given a drunk who's decided enough is enough. The same applies to all drugs or "habits" we tend to try.

I've never seen a drug destroy anyone. Everyone I've watched go down, went down because they chose that path. It isn't even arguable. We choose how we live. And we create the society that allows such easy access to drugs.

For those looking down their snouts at we lesser mortals, be careful. If the Xians are correct in their belief of God and his rules, many (if not all of you) are more doomed than the habitual drunk or doper you so contemptuously sneer at. And you idiot "do gooders" who "blame the drug, not the user", you too should someday suffer for enabling users to continue using long after they've asked for help. And those who make a living either dealing/pushing or all those who claim to be trying to control the use of drugs- Well, I do hope there is a Xian hell waiting for you. Because I see no difference between those, on either side, who are making money off the users.

Drugs make us feel good. There is no other reason for using them. If you can't deal with that fact and figure out an alternative- then you're blowing smoke and wasting everyone's time and money.

And if you think there is no problem in Emmitsburg, or Thurmont, or Harney, or Taneytown, or any other place people gather- then you're either well sheltered, or a fool. (I'm betting on- FOOL!)

When we got into office, the thing that surprised me most was that things were as bad as we'd been saying they were. -John F Kennedy

Read Take I, Take II

Read Other Articles by Jack Deatherage, Jr.