By Craig Hastings
I’ve been asked this question many times in the past month, and tonight I’ll answer it. There has been so much information broadcast and published lately about the proliferation of heroin and opioid addiction throughout this country that one major player in the illicit drug world is being overlooked. Both Mexico as a whole and our own legal pharmaceutical companies are bearing the weight of responsibility for the heroin and opioid crisis. First, I’ll point out that it is not Mexico the country that’s responsible for the flood of heroine into the United States. Mostly, it’s a few bad actors of Hispanic descent, citizens of Mexico, that are responsible.
But, let’s not stop with just a minimal Hispanic side of the problem. No, let’s look around our own communities and see whose buying heroin. Whites, Blacks, Asians, and every other race and culture are the buyers of the product. Without the consumer market willing to pay whatever it takes it wouldn’t matter how much heroin crossed the border. But there’s nothing more that I can say about opioid products that you haven’t already heard or read about. I’m here to talk about a different illegal drug causing police in this area problems every bit as much as opioid products. No, it’s not marijuana. Sure, marijuana is around, and it always will be. Minimal amounts will soon be legal to possess in this state just as it is in some other states already.
After 38 years of arresting people for possession of cannabis even I’m open to consideration of minimal amounts of legally purchased and taxed products be lawful. This fight divided the country from the first arrest to all other arrests after. I’ve never used marijuana, but some of my friends have and that’s okay as long as it was never around me because of what I’ve done for a living most of my life. I’ll tell you again that I’ve been doing this police thing for 38 years. In those 38 years, I’ve been to more fatal traffic accidents than I can remember. In those 38 years, I’ve been to ten times as many other personal injury traffic accidents. In those 38 years, not one can I say was directly cannabis (marijuana) related and nearly all of them directly related to the over consumption of legal alcohol. The big AND I might add to this argument is this: we don’t as police officers get called to fisticuffs between guys because they just smoked marihuana! Just the opposite! The guys at the party smoking marijuana want to joke around and be our best friends when we show up!
Maybe this is why I feel the way I do. That, and the fact that many people I knew as a younger man have grown older with me and succeeded in life and many better than myself. Some of them may even all these thirty plus years still be smoking marijuana or consuming one of the many edible products. I’m not advocating the use of marijuana tonight, but more so I’m saying let’s spend more time, money, and effort combating one of the more dangerous drugs so predominate in our communities.
The answer to the opening question is methamphetamine. If you ask me today what is causing police in Tuscola the biggest problem right now I have to tell you it’s methamphetamine. So you argue with me that it’s not causing it’s users to drop dead from respiratory failure should too much product be ingested or injected. You’re right but… If you’ve never been directly involved with law enforcement or with a family member addicted you can’t even imagine how devastating the continued use of this drug can be. I’ve found most cannabis smokers can put their pipes away until a convenient time and place affords itself to them. This isn’t the case with methamphetamine use. Most of these users need their fix before the last hit has worn off.
But here’s my biggest concern with methamphetamine use. Hallucinations and paranoia effect most methamphetamine users. If only I could tell you all of the stories we hear as police officers when called to a home by a concerned and, sometimes, scared family member. The more mild stories we hear might be how the users are being hunted. The user is being followed from home all around town and back. The user swears people are living under their homes. The user goes into great detail telling us about their conversation with someone who has been in the news lately. What concerns me most is when a user tells me of the roll they believe I might have in their conspiracy theories.
The users of this drug destroy their families, not just disrupt but destroy them. The mental toll the stress takes on family and friends is like none of the other drugs I’ve been involved with in my career. Methamphetamine will destroy physical qualities of its users. Teeth, skin, and hair are the first effected over a short amount of time of the abuse. So, where does it come from? Some does come into the country illegally. But, there are a variety of chemical recipes being used to “cook” the concoction right in your own home. Google the ingredients and tell me if you would ingest or inject this crap into your body.
However, with all of the information and political back and forth you hear about whose to blame, there’s only one person to blame. Blame the poor soul that decided using one of these drugs was the best choice they could make at the time they made it. The why is always the same…because they wanted to artificially feel a whole lot better than they could by just being the person God created them to be. I’m not happy every day nor do I feel good all the time, but I’m patient enough that I can wait for the sun to shine again. It always does and always will, right?