addiction, aid, bottle

“Doping: the new norm.”


Drug addiction has been a problem throughout American history. Especially during the period of time between the early 1970’s through the mid 1990’s. There were three major epidemics of drugs that hit the United States in this time: heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine. And since these three major epidemics, there have been smaller cycles that have popped up in the country. Right now, we are back in an opium crisis with heroin. But as with any issue that we have had, there have been a pop culture surrounding the issue. Today, we don’t have the “Just Say No” and D.A.R.E. But in our music, we are now starting to see the glamorizing of drug use.

popular usage

In the music we listen to, narcotics have started to become all the rave. But it’s not something new, during the 1970’s, cocaine use was so popularized, there were nightclubs known to cater directly to the narcotics market. So now, with the strength and influence of hip hop music, drugs are back in the pop culture. But what’s odd about hip hop being the place for drug usage is that hip hop music has for so long been the popular music that glorified the hustler and the dealer not the user. Everyone in hip hop for so long wanted the cars, the clothes, and the women the dealer had; but today, people want the drugs. And what are the drugs that are most popular.

drug of choice

There are a few drugs of choice that have been popularized, yet they are still a problem in our society.

  • This recreational drug is legalized in a few states to use in small amounts. And if you have the money, you can open your own dispensary as well as your own growing center. But as lucrative as the business might be, using is still bigger to people than owning.

  • This drug is used very prevalent among young people in today’s society. In the past, the majority of people used Ecstasy, but not the new generation. It has been popularized in music and in film/television.

  • As for heroin, this drug is less acceptable, and highly illegal. But nonetheless, it has swept the nation recently. So much so, people have posted videos on Facebook where people have been unconscious in their cars after using the drug.


Ultimately, the problem with the drug culture is that there is a total lack of productivity, efficiency, mobility/motor skills, fertility, and decision making. People find themselves sin more trouble once drugs come into play because they are not capable of making sound decisions under the influence. Yet the more marijuana becomes commonplace, you will see an even bigger usage because it will no longer be taboo.

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“Imagine with the heart and fearlessness came real ingenuity.”

For me growing up, I was born in the year 1987, a time when Crack Cocaine was in full swing. Everyone was selling drugs, so much so, you would have thought it was a legitimate 9 – 5. Luckily for me, I didn’t grow up in a household where narcotics was sold. But I did live in a community where people bought and sold drugs. Young people who ranged from middle school to their late adulthood were selling drugs. As I got older, the trend didn’t slow down, it kept steady. And a next generation was running toward the narcotics business full steam ahead.

So in my mind, I said to myself, “What would happen if these young males could harness that skill?” “Harness that skill and put it into real business ventures.” They have the heart and the fearlessness to persevere, but they want the fast money. And that’s what makes it difficult to get these young men to turn their lives around. The addiction to the fast money. Only problem is that the few guys at the top make big money. The ones at the bottom take the most risk and make the least amount of money. But the guys at the top started somewhere. And it was somewhere, at the bottom. So if these young guys are willing to climb that ladder, why not the legit ladder.

Yes, the money is quicker, but when you factor in the time spent hanging around to sell. Then you take that and calculate the odds of you dying or going to prison, it’s not worth it. So my next question is, “How do we steer young men from selling drugs.” You’re obviously not going to reach everybody. But the goal is not to reach everybody, it’s to show them there are options. When you are an outsider looking in you say there are options. But living there, you know there are some people with no choice. I would love to see the ability to choose. If you choose that live, so be it. But you have too many choosing that life that are not in a position to have to sell drugs.

Let’s say we are able to harness that street entrepreneurship, what could we do with it. Well, we could build and sustain a stronger civilization. People looking in say, “These are nothing but common thugs.” But if not for informants, the DEA and FBI would have a tough time busting drug dealers. The organizations are so tightly nit, that informants are needed. They run multimillion operations under the radar. And the leaders do so without showing their faces. I wouldn’t say these are a group of thugs. They have plenty of education, but with no place to put it, it will be used for bad. Who could be the creators of America’s next innovative idea, now becomes public enemy number one.

A major aspect in reaching the next group is through after school activities. With so much of their time taken up, there is no time for breaking the law. You can start to wean-out a lot of what could turn into the next criminals of tomorrow. Issues you run into with this is political. And so many people feel the politicians are a contributor to the madness. In the end, what do we do as a community. One generation dies and another is born and the same game is played. You would think a lesson is learned from the prior generations. Yet, these young men join, they sell, not knowing that they are next. The next group to go to jail, never to see freedom again.




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“What is your vice?”

The topic of narcotics use has been a subject for debate for the past five decades. But narcotics has popped its head up again in a new epidemic. Heroine use is back up again as well as Cocaine use on the west coast. And sad part about it, it’s a young generation that is using the drugs. Videos have been posted on social media of people and their drug use. Some of which are sitting in the front seats of their cars overdosing. So what is the reason for so much drug use? Especially a narcotic that has already proven to be a problem in the past. The 1960’s and 1970’s were a major Cocaine and Heroine usage time period. Now all of a sudden it’s back again.

On of the reasons that people have been using more drugs today than previous years is because of depression. So many people feel they need an escape from whatever it is that they are feeling bad about in life. Instead of facing the world head-on, people feel that they can only defeat their demons through drug use. The problem with that is that the narcotic creates a whole new set of demons worse than the ones you’re already defeating. So if you’re suffering from depression because you lost your job, then using narcotics is going to make you feel better in the moment, yet worse when the high comes down. And that brings me to my next reason why people use narcotics; unhappy with quality of life and needing an escape.

When I say quality of life, I mean employment situations. In society today, so many people are looking for work. So many people are unhappy with their current jobs and want anything better than what they have at the moment. So with the little money they do have, they get high. The only problem is that when you use a little money, it quickly turns into a lot of money. And that’s when you really crash because you find yourself dipping into your rent, mortgage, utilities, and personals money. And after this happens so many people find themselves sleeping in the street. This is the place known as rock bottom. The absolute lowest point in life; homelessness.

But it’s not all sorrow as to why so many people use narcotics today. Another reason is the social aspects of drugs. People use drugs to fit into their social circles. I have been hearing that on the west coast there has been an increase in Cocaine usage among young millennials. And it is so casual that no one is even talking much about it, almost like it’s perfectly normal. You would think that a lot of their parents who remember the past decades of heavy narcotics use would warn them. But then again, that’s assuming that parents know their children are using drugs. In the end, there many different reasons why people use heavy narcotics today. But unlike the past decades, prescription drugs are becoming an even bigger problem than narcotics. But even with all the downsides of narcotics people continue to still use heavily.


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“Ever been in too deep?”

848 is the charge that is reserved for mainly drug traffickers who move high quantities of narcotics. It is known as the the kingpin charge. In my lifetime, there have been a few kingpins that have graced this earth. But when I think of a kingpin, I think of Pablo Escobar, Carlos Lehder, Joaquin Guzman (El Chapo), and Griselda Blanco. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized that Americans have been hit with 848. And when you look at what they were engaged in, you could consider these people kingpins. Nicky Barnes, Frank Lucas, Ricky Ross, Big Meech, and Rayful Edmond. My question is, do some of the men who are hit with these charges know what they’re involved in?

Growing up in the inner city, there were guys in my community that were charged with various drug offenses. To me they were just basic drug dealers, but you hear about guys receiving kingpin charges and you pause. These guys are kingpins, really? But in the court system, the level of drugs that they were selling made them kingpins. But, there is only one problem, a lot of the names I stated early were much older men. But what about guys who were getting charged in cities across the United States at young ages. And when I say young, I mean 15, 16, 17, and 18 years old.

You think to yourself, what 15 – 18 year old really know about the drug laws. You had guys selling drugs that didn’t even know there was authority outside their neighborhood. So to assume they were these guys putting together this massive criminal enterprise is far fetched. Don’t get me wrong, they knew it was wrong. But for boys this young, they were doing what was the cash cow in the neighborhood. So if they knew what they were truly involved in, would they have still joined? We will never know because so many of them have lost time selling drugs.

Now as for me, how come I never got involved in my neighborhood debauchery? It was because I knew the full extent to which I could get into trouble or killed. How did I know, I was taught in my household. So why weren’t these guys taught in their households. Or maybe they were taught what could happen. Maybe they knew and just didn’t care. I will say, the older guys knew what could happen. Unlike the older guys, younger guys had no clue what they were doing. Nonetheless, the criminal justice could care less if they knew or not. They were carried off to jail.

In the end, being seen as a kingpin or running a continuous criminal enterprise is an 848. So by law, it is not hard to be labeled as a kingpin. But as for the young guys who get involved they are in the dark as to what they are doing. But in today’s society, can they truly say they don’t know. There is enough information out here that was not available in the past. But as long as poverty is what’s driving the market, we won’t see any stoppage of drug sells anytime soon.


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Standing next to my brother, I must been only a few feet tall. I can still hear the drug addict as she approached, “Got some blow, got some blow?” He looked around, scanning the street from left to right, as he placed a tiny baggy of white powder in her hand. She gave him the cash in their hand to hand exchange, and then she walked away as quickly as she first approached. I must have watched a few dozen more people run up to him that day, as he scolded each of them, “Hey ya’ll, stand back, you gone get some, stand back.” I always wondered about the substance inside those tiny little baggies that everyone was going to crazy over.

In my childlike mind I envisioned sugar, which they were using to bake some type of meal at home. But I quickly dismissed this theory because why didn’t they just go to the grocery store. The grocery store had way more sugar than my brother was offering. It also was a hell of a lot cheaper than my brother was charging. I couldn’t understand for the life of me why they were spending ten to twenty dollars on something so small. There was one thing for certain, people went crazy for it. People would sometimes seal their purchase and snort the powder standing right there. That’s something that shocked me; they would snort this stuff and even rub the leftover residue across their gums.

By the end of the day, my brother would reach into his pocket and pull out a wad of cash. Watching all this money really sparked my interest. It seemed like he would be counting money for hours. I knew in that moment what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to sell to people whatever it was my brother was selling. You see my father was never around, and my mother was a waitress at a diner. She would come home from work as well with a wad of cash. Only her stack was a lot smaller in size than my brother’s. What was odd, is that when my brother would hear our mother outside, he would gather his belongings in a hurry. He grabbed the baggies, a small scale, a tiny scupper, a credit card, and an even bigger bag of white powder.

“Why would he run,” I thought to myself. Mother would be so grateful if she knew how much money he was making. I mean, she struggled raising the two of us, how could he be so ashamed to let her in on his new found wealth. Something struck me as odd after he would take his belongings into his room. Right before our mother would open the door, he use to put one finger to his lip, “Shhhhh, you didn’t see nothing, ok.” “Keep quiet about what you saw, and I’ll take you for some ice cream.”

That’s all I needed to hear from my big brother was that we were going for some ice cream. I never understood why he didn’t want me to say anything, but who cared. All I could think about once he said that was cookies and cream. There was nothing better than cookies and cream with my brother. Mom would walk into the house, and give a keen stare at my brother. “Have been out looking for a job today?” “Been looking all day, and couldn’t find nothing,” he would reply. I wanted to say so bad, “You do have a job.” “What about all the customers who buy your nose sugar?” Yet something kept me from saying it, maybe it was from the promise of cookies and cream ice cream.

She would walk pass the two of us, as she made her way to the bathroom. My brother would wait until she entered the bathroom and walk into his bedroom. There I would be, sitting alone on the couch, wondering what was going through my mother’s head and in my brother’s bedroom. It’s almost like they would exit the exact same time from the two rooms. My mother would give another keen look as she sat on the couch. These looks she would give him became all too routine; like she could sense the deceit. She would peer pass my brother, looking toward his room door. It’s as if she knew; she just knew he was hiding something. Which was something my mother hated, she hated lies; she hated the deceit, and she hated the betrayal.

My brother was all three rolled into one, only I didn’t see it that way. To me, he was a superhero; like in the movies or a comic strip. In my eyes, standing next to my brother, was like standing next to the President of the United States. There was nothing he could do that would upset me. This was the man who would introduce me into manhood. He is the one who taught me how to fight and how to pick up girls; how to love and how to show loyalty. I mean, who else was going to show me, not my mother. She wasn’t us, and we weren’t her, so how would she know? Who could teach her how to understand us better than my brother and I. So she did what any woman would do raising children on her own; she prayed and asked for the Lord’s guidance.

My mother didn’t know much, but she knew something wasn’t right in her household. I realized something wasn’t right while my mother and I were watching television one evening. There was some news reporter speaking into the camera about some war. He said it was a war that the country was losing and something needed to be done about it. I’m thinking to myself, a war, what country are we attacking this time. Only it wasn’t a foreign country, it was in this country. The television cut from his face to rows of rundown houses and apartment buildings. Something caught my attention as the camera kept panning the neighborhoods on the screen.

I thought to myself, those communities look like the one that I live in. Not only that, but those people walking the street look a lot like my brother’s customers. The reporter was saying how they obtained footage of the war. There were people with those tiny little baggies my brother had in his pocket, as well as the snorting of the powder. Then I became quite irritated to tell you the truth. How could a country be at war with my brother’s business? My brother was supplying these people with a product in which they were paying for out of their own pockets. The customers were a little creepy, but everyone in my neighborhood was strange in some shape or form.

I couldn’t wait until my brother came home so I could tell him about this war. He would enter the house, as normal, and walk into his bedroom. That’s when I would follow after him and knock on his door. With confidence, I approached him and said, “I was watching TV with mom tonight.” “The TV said that there was a war on your business, they can’t shut you down like that.” He never even broke a sweat as he looked me in my eyes and replied, “They always trying to shut me down, but the goal is to keep moving around so they can’t shut you down.” It still was confusing to me even after speaking with my big brother. Well that’s until I overheard a telephone conversation my mother was having.

She would be discussing the issues in the neighborhood; everything from fights in the street to murders on the sidewalks. For some reason she really took issue to the customers my brother was supplying. I’ll never forget what she called them, “junkies and fiends.” She went on to say they were, “strung out and tweaking.” I had never heard her speak of these words before, which carried such fowl connotation. So what did I do, I would sit near her as if I didn’t understand the conversation; soaking it all in. By the end of the conversation there was a clear painting of what she was discussing. The painting was grim, it was scary, it was violent, and it was all that described my brother.

My brother couldn’t be what she described, but my mother was a wise woman. Even though he was my superhero, she was above him in her own regard. So here I was, stuck at a crossroads, not knowing which path to take. Should I honor my loyalty to my brother and ignore her comments, or confront my brother about what our mother had said. So you know what, I approached her; that’s right, for the first time I stepped to my mother. Not like a boy, but like a man. I looked her dead in the eyes and said, “Don’t talk about people like that, they have done nothing wrong.” “If it were wrong, then how come the police have not arrested them yet?” Her anger for me listening to her telephone conversation subsided, once she saw how much it bothered me.

It was a look I would never forget; combination of shock and anguish. She would place her hand on my cheek on tell me how much wrong was in our community. I didn’t want to hear it; it wasn’t true, it couldn’t be true. If what she was saying was true, then my brother is up to no good. He was one bad man who was charting down a path of destruction. I had heard enough, so told her, “Don’t tell me about how bad these people are, my big brother supply these people.” “He gives them sweet sugar to put in their noses and they always come back for more.” “He divides it up with a credit card and weighs all of it right here, I watch him do it.” “Just so he would give everyone a fair amount.” “Now you sit here and say these things are bad, how mom, how?”

Her shock and anguish turned to tearful emotion and pain. This was new; I had never seen my mother cry before. Something must be wrong? What did I say to make her turn so quickly? She leaped from the couch and scampered into my brother’s room. Next thing you know, she had gotten hold of his big bag of sugar, and tore it open. The room quickly filled with powdery mist as continue her assault on his room. From the other side of the door, I was thinking to myself, “When he gets home, he is going to be heated.” “Mom ripped open his bag, poured out all his sugar.” “Now what is his customers going to do about their nose sugar.” “He is sure to lose them all to some of the other salesmen who stand on the corner in the next block over.

She stormed from the bedroom, almost knocking me to the ground, as she dialed on her cell phone. Her exact words once the person answered, “Hello, 9-1-1, I need the police, right now.” “Don’t ask for the emergency, send them now!” I thought to myself she has done it now, tore up my brother’s room so bad, now she needs medical attention. But I couldn’t understand why she needed medical attention from the police. The police are supposed to come when someone is going to jail. Who was going to jail? I knew she wouldn’t have called on herself. Maybe she was calling on me because I yelled at her.

The fear of going to jail made me run from the room, into my mother’s bedroom. I hid underneath her bed, while I heard the sounds of sirens moments later. They’re here, the sound of their heavy footsteps on the porch made me cringe in fear. As they entered I heard my mother yelling, “I want him gone, take him to jail.” I grew more terrified hearing her say these words. It hit me, she was talking about me, but I wasn’t going to jail. But I had to do something as she called out to me. Then when I wouldn’t reply, she made her way to the bedroom. As they entered, she yelled, “Boy, where in the hell are you!”

I slowly emerged from under the bed, shivering from fear. “Boy what the hell is wrong with you, come here!” She grabbed my arm and forced me from the bedroom. It felt like I was on my way to the gas chamber. Here it goes, just like this, this is how my life will end. As we stood before the police she looked at them, “My son here has been telling me all about his brother’s dope dealing in this house.” “I want him arrested; he is to not step foot in this house selling dope. I paused, looking at her in shock, oh no, not my brother. My brother didn’t sell drugs, drug dealers hurt people. My brother didn’t hurt anybody; he was simply giving people some sugar for their noses.

Hell I don’t know why people needed sugar for their nose, but boy did they love it. Eventually footsteps were heard from outside, as my brother entered the house. He looked in shock, “Momma, what happened?” “Why are the police here?” They walked over to him, “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” My brother was shocked until he took a peek inside his room. Once he saw the all his sugar on the ground, he closed his eyes and dropped his head in shame. I still remember how they took him from the house, my mother not even acknowledging his existence. I had never seen my brother until that day when the police took him away in handcuffs.

Each and every day after my brother left, I would wait on the porch for him. I waited days, then weeks, then months, but the inevitable set in; he wasn’t coming home again. By the time I was on my way out of elementary school into middle school my brother came home. Only this time, he was muscular and had all these tattoos on his body. He asked me if I still loved cookies and cream ice cream. When I replied yes he offered to take me to go get some. On our way to the ice cream shop he was approached by one of his old customers. The man said, “Haven’t seen you around in a long time; still got some blow?” My brother said, “Naw man, I don’t sell blow no more.” The man walked away as my brother and I entered the ice cream shop. I was glad he didn’t sell it anymore because I never wanted to see my brother walk out of my life again.