Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lazy Sunday # 282: The Deadly Dance

In the original ad campaign for the Fox TV series “Glee” the cast posed making an “L” sign with their fingers –- the universal sign for “Loser”.

Last week, the star of that series, Cory Monteith, became the ultimate loser, cutting short a promising career and departing this life as the latest celebrity victim of a Heroin overdose.

In eulogizing Cory, a lot has been written about his struggles with addiction, visits to rehab and the problems that come from being young and rich and famous.

Others have repeated the words of Comedian Bill Hicks, who codified the victim mentality and bleeding heart sympathies around drug deaths into the phrase “We’re missing a moron”.

We all know that hard drugs mask rather than solve a problem, providing a temporary relief from the user’s pain that ultimately makes the problem much, much harder to solve.

For whatever reasons, Cory Monteith either didn’t have the tools or just wasn’t smart enough to deal with his real issues and, as in all such cases, the Darwin theory eventually reproves itself.

Yet while the fans weep and the floral memorial outside the hotel where he died in Vancouver grows, not a lot of people want to talk about why he died the way he did.

There’s palpable outrage over a column in a Calgary newspaper blaming his death on Vancouver’s safe injection sites. Not because that’s where Cory took his final shot, but because it’s a well known place for out-of-towner’s to connect with dealers just by talking to their current customers.

Like John Belushi and so many other celebrity addicts in bands found dead in hotel rooms, Monteith may have made the simple mistake of not considering that the drugs he was purchasing on the road weren’t the same as the ones he was used to back home.

Maybe Vancouver’s safe injection sites are a humane solution for some of the problems addicts face. But like drug use itself, they mask rather than deal with the real issue.

One of the hits of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival was Sean Dunne’s harrowing documentary “Oxyana” (now available online at Vimeo). It chronicles the devastation of a small West Virginia town caused by rampant Oxycontin abuse.

You’ll find a taste of it below, along with another from a NY Times documentary by Brent McDonald on Heroin use in Portland, Maine. Usage that spiked once Oxycontin became harder to obtain.

We can either continue to write kind words and lay bouquets on the sidewalk the next time a budding talent dies, or we can finally take a hard look at what is killing them and deal with it once and for all.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Oxyana Trailer from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Joel Scott said...

The concept that illegal drug use is a criminal matter is as antiquated as Victorian sexuality rules being taught as Sex Education today.

Drug addiction is a medically diagnosed disease as is alcoholism. Friends that are in the Judiciary estimate that 75% of the accused appearing before them have substance abuse problems. The accused suffer the subsequent advancing mental health issues related to that abuse or they have that substance use awaken preexisting mental illnesses!

Portugal decriminalized drug use 12 years ago and the addiction levels have halved. That's 50% less problems if The United Sates and Canada were to follow suit, the implications are enormous, economically and culturally. We would happily be on the road to wellness instead of the path of perpetual personal suffering, incarceration and community endured anxiety and misery.

The fictional leap of faith that Mr. Monteith went to The Insight safe injection site to find a dealer is clearly gross political pandering to anti drug zealots. I can assure you that addicts, no matter in what city, ALWAYS know where to find their life's blood drug, especially if their entire adult life they have been an addict.

Addiction is a Health, not Criminal matter. Imprisoning addicts is the same as imprisoning anyone who has Kidney Disease. The brain is an organ too and it can become diseased and become non functional! Criminal behavior is a symptom of the disease of addiction, not the Fricken cause!

Sadly Mr. Monteith just added to the body count caused by the WAR on DRUGS, which is really a War on our Common Sense. Stop Fighting the Drug War with Victorian concepts of crime and punishment.

We must Stop the War altogether by acknowledging the War on Drugs is over, and yes, Drugs Won!

It's now time to medically treat the casualties and victims of that War, the addicts and our society. Both will need increasing, instead of decreasing financial and social resources if this redonkulas, useless Catch 22 War persists.

Attached Forbes report on Portugal