|Just because he is wearing a suit, we cannot make assumptions.|
Last night what I thought would be a casual dinner turned out to be quite insightful so the topic I was going to write about I pushed it of to another time. I felt this would be much more of a compelling topic for a Friday night.
I joined my friend his girlfriend, dad, and dad's friend. By the way his dad is making a movie and book about his life, information that I cannot release on here.
I gained a great deal of wisdom from my friend's dad. Not about the movie or book but about his background, culture and the past. He is a conversationalist, short, oval faced, slim, bald, expressive blue eyed man who resembles Seth Godin.
If you don't know who Seth Godin is then I recommend you google him and than purchase his books, Purple Cow, Tribes, after those two if you like his style of writing you should buy Meatball Sunday and Lynchpin.
Although at this point you think I will be telling you about my conversation with my friends dad, your mistaken. What was more impressive is the passionate topic I got a pleasure to discuss with my friend's dad's friend. Will call him John.
John has a hippy look to him, clean shaven, long silver neatly combed hair, toothy, fair skinned, with a compassionate gaze. Both John and my friend's dad are in their late 60's. Someone who kept quiet most of the night until my friend had asked him about the movement that he created in his 30's. John went from quiet to voluble.
You know when someone is so passionate about something that the knowledge they bring is unfathomable. John spoke zealously when we got into the topic of Drug War Survivors. He was proud of his accomplishment.
I am humbled to be telling you about it. "The facts don't lie and neither does the science, yet people ignore it believing common sense, when the common sense is no so common." We stereotype people who are not like us. People who have mental illness.
Drug addiction was on the rise and we turn our back to the addicts, blame them for making those "Choices". When I used this word John got very serious with me and began to educate me like he did with the crowd during his movement.
"Choice is a powerful word to use when addicts are born into this lifestyle. Being highly pre-disposed to addiction genetically. Who grow up in such chaotic environments they use alcohol and drugs addictively as soon as they get first introduced to them."
"They build a relationship with their dealers and become so vulnerable to the hustle that they are left with very little choices."
Do people who suffer from depression, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), bi polar, or manic have choices in life?
We make choices each and everyday. We choose what to wear to work. The job we work at. The career we pursue. People who suffer from mental illness do not have a choice to be mentally healthy.
Yes there are drugs that make them feel somewhat stable, however with that come side effects.
I felt I was put in my place when I made the 'assumption' about all addicts making the wrong choices in their journey.
I told him this is the kind of stuff people need to hear and that it needs to be talked about to people in the position to do something about it, to raise public awareness.
He got into it deeper and explained that he was giving talks at universities about how we can help the helpless. We have the power to give them shelter, safe places to use, safe equipment to use with. Yet all these methods proved effective in such a way that it not only reduced crime but it also reduced health care costs.
And no one listened at those talks. His movement became a shattered dream.
Would we rather be spending money on prisons and more police? Where it becomes a cess pool for disease. Or in turn save money by providing the necessities needed for addicts to feel safe.
It is a vicious cycle. Starts with the addict looking for the hustle to make money anyway they can to buy their drugs. Once the drugs are bought then they look for a place to do the drugs, usually it is in a drug house where they share the pipes and needles and in turn contract diseases.
Than the police catch them for breaking the law to make money to buy more drugs, all the while their health is deteriorating.
"When the addicts feel safe they in turn do not commit offences. Instead all that energy used to find the cash to pay for the drugs has now become constructive. When a drug addict's self esteem is increased they become a contributing member to the society."
My initial thoughts prior to this conversation were not suggesting we should encourage this, however after having a talk with John my eyes an mouth were wide open. I do believe we can help society as a whole by not ignoring the facts and the science that is laid out right in front of us.
John was driving with a friend and his son. They came up to an intersection and they seen what looked to be two homeless men on opposite sides of the road. One of them was dressed in a suit clean cut begging for money, and the other one in ratted cloths pushing a cart.
John recognized the man in the suit. The son blatantly said I would never give my money to the man in the suit, instead I will give it to the man pushing the cart. John replied back to him. "The man in the suit has 3 kids and a job, he is out here on the street to make ends meet because his job is not enough for his family to survive. He is not an addict. The men pushing the cart is an addict."
Who would you give that money too?
After reading this post probably both men.
Let's not judge a book by it's cover and understand that to make it safer, save money, and to progress our society as a whole we need to take action.
The right kind of action.
I am not saying to give money to the homeless, or to start a non for profit organization. Instead next time you encounter an addict or see a homeless person think back to this post.
One ounce of prevention equates to one pound of cure.
A war on drugs has become a war on mental illness, and mentally ill people are the ones who need the most help, not to be fought against.
Ill leave it at this to respect your time. To be continued....
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