The old man couldn’t sleep his diabetic nephropathy had his ankles screaming in pain, nothing he couldn’t handle, just an annoyance he’d gotten accustomed to. Accordingly he hobbled out of the bedroom into the living room and found his favorite reclining chair and shortly thereafter his favorite little guy, his Chihuahua joined him and they enjoyed the wee hours of the night together.
It had been a difficult week, to put it mildly, actually it had been a week from hell. While driving to get a routine oil change,the old man found himself surrounded by a massive amount of Law enforcement and Law enforcement vehicles with sirens screaming and red and blue blights blaring as far as the eye could see. With police guns drawn he exited the vehicle step by step paying close attention to vociferously forceful commands, as he lay flat on the ground and taken into custody, he overheard a cop say, “why did we do all this, this guy ain’t dangerous”.He chuckled to himself.
In America today, this is far from uncommon and sadly so is the rest of the story. More sad is that this story will be read and passed over, because it has become so woven into the fabric of society that this has become the norm. “Moreover we have become a society that’s only about Me”. “In reality there is nothing normal about it. And unfortunately it’s about to many me’s.
I apologizing for diverting from the main point of this story, but I remember the late President Bush’s words of making America a ‘Kinder gentler Place which later became material for late night television talk shows. In fact take a step even further back into the late 1960’s and early 70’s when America was actually a kinder gentler place.
Turns out a week after his arrest, he was released. The old man had been taking a popularly prescribed benzodiazepine. (i.e. xanax, klonopin, ativan) for decades and had forged a prescription to increase his supply. He had grown a tolerance to the medication and needed more to get the same affect.
The old man was a retired financial services executive, whose contacts was a whose who of the garment center giants. Who is inner circle, his closest friends were lawyers, accountants and financial people, hardly someone you would think needed to be taken down at gunpoint.
And the beat goes on.This is America today. We have a people dependent on computers not on people. Prescription drug addiction has become the new crack cocaine epidemic. This country with all it’s infinite wisdom has not figured out that the war on drugs initiated in the 1980’s is not working. You don’t put people in jail for something the F.D.A. has declared is a disease. Your insurance will pay for you to get help. So why the heck would you put anyone in jail for a disease. Would you put a cancer patient in jail if they hadn’t recovered the way you expected!! So why is this any different. You don’t want to hear this….but it’s NOT!!
It’s time we become a kinder gentler people, it’s time we get to know our neighbors, it’s time to return to the time that everyone in the neighborhood knew everyone. You knew your pharmacist, your barber, your corner store, your cleaners by first name. It’s time to get the politicians and government out of the darn way. It’s time to get the greedy pharmaceutical companies out of the way. Time to get Lobbyists out of the way. It’s time for change. Our people are being put in Prison or dying for absolutely no reason.
It’s time to let physicians be physicians and not puppets of insurance companies. This is such a deeply systemic issue. We don’t want to face it. There is so much money involved here, that has blinded our sense of right and wrong. There is so much money involved, to much greed, to much selfishness, to much blaming the other guy. This is not an easy problem to solve. It takes self reflection by all involved and self reflection is not an easy thing to do, especially when your guilty.
In a follow up article I’ll detail the old man’s entire story, but for now we need some common sense. If we are serious about addressing this issue, we will not put band aids on broken legs by passing politically correct legislation. We will put the onus on Insurance companies, on Pharmaceutical companies, in this writers opinion the biggest culprit. We will make laws that make sense, not money.
We will let these people get help…..medically not by putting them in jail. These are generally good people. Did you know that Prison population has gone up from 300,000 people in 1974 to around 5,000,000 people presently. By the way 80% of the increase is due to Alcohol or drug related offenses. Mostly non-violent. It has generated an unheard of amount of money for states and unheard of amount of pain on common decent folks.
C’mon people aint this America, land of the free, home of the brave. The greatest country on Earth. I CAN’T TELL!!