Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Back In History: It Just Had To Be The Pot

It couldn't have been all the LSD and Acid!
This is a continuing discussion about Berkeley County's out of control drug problem. Weeks ago I posted one of several I have written on the subject of, Should Pot Be Legal?

I was born and raised here in Martinsburg. My parents took me to church every Sunday and also talked about why we should never use drugs. Maybe that should say they used scare tactics back then to explain it.
As a kid I was scared to death of drugs. Back in those days the majority of kids I went to school with was raised the same way we were.
Back in those days on Sundays you were in church. Everyone knew each other here in town. At the stores or when out you ran into people
you either went to church with, school with or someone who knew your parents. We were allowed to walk downtown then, our parents weren't afraid. We lived on north end of Martinsburg and let me tell ya I could be on the South end of town where my grandmother and cousins lived and get in trouble there and be in serious trouble with my parents by the time I made it back home. My parents already knew. That is how close knit Martinsburg was back then.

That was Martinsburg then - the good ole' days!

Those were the days when parents built a foundation for their children and children were taught morals and had respect in the home. It was no different at my house. Back then they did all of that so that when the time came, kids could go on to live in society and take what we were taught in our homes to flourish and be productive citizens of our community.

I have to admit I came from a home where my parents sheltered us probably a little too much. I don't blame them. Back then they cared about us and didn't want us to get hurt. When it came time to leave home and set out into the world on our own we knew the basics of building our own home and family. My kids call those in my generation, the sheltered generation. 

Honestly... I think after getting married we too lived pretty sheltered because I really didn't know just how bad it was in this town until early 2000 when I went to work in a convenience store in this town.

The era of the sheltered generation of the 50's, 60's and into the 70's. I was born in the early 60's; now considered a baby boomer. If you were born in any of those years you may also remember the parental scare tactics used during those years about drugs. I was about twenty eight years old when I first saw the B rated flick Reefer Madness It reminded me of what my own parents had told me growing up about why we should never use drugs and I wondered if my parents had secretly watched it as training material. Don't laugh.

Reefer Madness was the thinking of those years when the real threat to communities was thought to be hippies, potheads, cannabis, pot, marijuana. I think it was considered then to be the gateway to the more heinous of drugs.

There were so many changes through the years... Lets go back a little

 By the late 50's the generation of the 30's to 40's was going through a change. They were grown up and starting families. The music was not only changing but so were the people. I think although our parents told us about drugs, back then they were scared of the changing times. 

Then of course the 60's brought a lot of changes. The hippy culture, LSD and Acid and other  drugs came on the scene along with pot. The psychedelic revolution. The Vietnam War had started overseas and the hippy era was here on the home front. Many parents of that generation blamed it on the Beatles rage. No seriously!

Here in Berkeley County I believe our bigger problem started way back when GM opened their plant here. When GM opened it bought jobs here, but it also bought folks who transferred here from Detroit. That is when it changed here!!!

The 60's went on with music, hippies, civil unrest and protests. My parents have talked about those years when the District of Columbia was set on fire during protests. I can remember my grand dad saying, it was all because of those danged pot smoking hippies. Honestly I can remember my early school years. I remember segregation. I was in the last half of second grade before any black kids went to my school. I never really understood that until I was older.

Then of course in 1969 Charles Manson and his communal family committed Helter Skelter and that was it! Pot was deemed the gateway drug. It couldn't have been the LSD and all the acid they were using that caused them to go on a killing spree. It was blamed on the pot probably because pot was the easiest to get hold of even then. in June of 1970 we heard about President Nixon and his declaration of war. The War on Drugs that my generations knows started then...
  • June 17: Nixon declares war on drugs. He characterized the abuse of illicit substances as "public enemy number one in the United States". Under Nixon, the U.S. Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This legislation is the foundation on which the modern drug war exists. Responsibility for enforcement of this new law was given to the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and then in 1973 to the newly formed Drug Enforcement Administration. During the Nixon era, for the only time in the history of the war on drugs, the majority of funding goes towards treatment, rather than law enforcement. From The History of the U.S. Drug Prohibition
In 1970 the first time I heard the words spoken, The War On Drugs which also coincided a little with the trial of Charles Manson and his commune/family. Even after all of these years it was so easy to blame everything on marijuana that it was labeled as "The Gateway Drug" In actuality caffeine nicotine and alcohol is more addicting than pot but was never labeled as the gateway to either of those. 

The reality is that alcohol is in fact now considered the gateway drug for the younger crowds. It is easier to get a hold of. When I think about my high school years, we had some pot smokers who lit up on the school bus, but also alcohol was being experimented and that never changed. I think the ages of first using is what has changed.

The numbers of young people under the age of 10-11 and sometimes younger who are trying alcohol for the first time has risen over the last decades. The numbers of teens who are seeking alcohol abuse treatment facilities and programs have now risen just over the last few years. 

Here we are today when heroin has invaded our community, our neighborhoods, our children, our schools, our parks, our churches, our organizations and much, much, more. Heroin isn't racist and it doesn't only pick on the poor kids, the trailer parks, and certain neighborhoods. Oh no! It doesn't pick only the young kids either. There are many of my generation and older who are addicted. 

Heroin in fact DOES NOT discriminate.

Guess what? Pot was not ever the gateway drug to heroin abuse either. Neither was alcohol. As surprising at that may sound. Nope! Prescription drugs and opiates are to blame for that. Prescription drugs given out by legal drug dealers, physicians.

Who is to blame for all of this? Everyone! Society, our community, our police, our government, the user... you, me, everyone had a part in it this becoming a pandemic. 

For one,
Society is giving no foundation to our future families. No more is respect and morals being taught in the home.
Our community for thinking it can't happen here or to them and for turning their backs  on crack cocaine and meth and waiting until it got this bad.
Our police because how many of our police are now deeply involved in the drug trade verses the police who are trying to combat the problem? We've heard the stories of missing drugs from evidence rooms.

Or are we just to assume they have no idea how to rid the area of drugs? It is easy running through town gathering up the addicts and users but what about the high end traffickers of heroin? What about those bringing it into the area? 

Others are to blame too You and me because we have waited until now to demand that something be done.
Our community leaders and government for standing by and doing nothing.
The user is also to blame. There were many choices the user had also. But it happened so now what?

What will become of our future in WV? If this is allowed to continue it looks like all of our future leaders will be drug addicted and the rest will be dead from overdosing.

I have joked that there will come a time when the law against felons not being allowed to vote in WV will have to be lifted. If not, who will be left to vote? 

The Governor of the State of Virginia just did that very thing... May of 2016

DISCLAIMER: This post is my opinion. I am not a pot smoker or a drug user just in case you were dying to ask that question. The intent of none of these posts is to degrade, put down or bash our local police and law enforcement, our local governments or physicians. The intent is to discuss the problem. Not discussing it has been devastating to this community.
To be continued....(I am sure)

© 2014 Gossip Girl

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