I've spent the past two months reading everything I can on the various opiate and opioid epidemics we've had in North America and the for profit prison systems of our Southern neighbors and I can't shake one thought from my head:
When it is white people dying, ie the current opioid epidemic, it is a medical crisis.
When it is black people, or First Nations folk up here, it is a criminal justice issue.
Decriminalize drugs. Legislate rehab and therapy. Shut down the racist prison systems that are very much becoming institutional slavery.
The war on drugs very quickly became a war on the sick, the poor, the coloured. It became a self feeding monster that eats the unfortunate and traps them in a system of oppression and a cycle of abuse that affects all of us. It failed. It is time to try something new.
I've come around to accepting addiction is a disease.
I've volunteered around people suffering through dope sickness. I've seen dry blackouts in heavy drinkers. Incarcerating people for a disease is, on the face of it, inhuman. Making money off of that? Monstrous.
How do we fix it? No idea. I need to learn more before I find that answer. But what do I do today? What's the Happy Warrior take on this?
Easy. Every day I see dozens of people afflicted with this disease. All of us do. I am not going to ignore them, as all of us do. I am not going to get annoyed or angry at the aggressive panhandling.
I'm going to say hello. I am going to ask their name. I am going to engage in conversation with them. Call them brother. Call them sister.
Not be a fucking asshole. I'd help someone hit by a car. Why not help someone run over by life?