JUST SAY YES: HOW DRUGS HAVE BECOME ALL THE RAVE IN AMERICA TODAY

addiction, aid, bottle

“Doping: the new norm.”


drugs

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.

MARIJUANA
  • 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.

MDMA (MOLLY)
  • 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.

HEROIN
  • 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.

downfall

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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STREET CULTURE: WHY ARE WE IN LOVE WITH GANGSTA CULTURE

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“Street Kings.”


streetz is out

I have been on a loop, listening to all the stories of the guys who used to be into the streets heavy. I am talking about the men you hear about in well-known rap lyrics. But what is it, what is it about the gangsters in the street that make them so appealing. Why are they so attractive and the everyday hard working man is not so appealing? Could it be that if they want something, they go and get and the everyday man is afraid to get what is coming to him? Or is it the outlaw mentality that people love so much?

outside the law

The appeal of the man in the street initially is the go for it mentality. They say I want this or that, they go get it. And if they can’t get it handed to them, they’ll take what is felt is theirs. But what we really get attracted to when looking at the outlaw is the way they elude the system. There is something for some reason that is so ingratiating about these men eluding the government; a government that makes promises on  daily yet never deliver. So when you have men in the street who can work around the system, you silently cheer, but you also have this fear because you know who they are and their capabilities.

levels in the game

MAFIA
  • The photo below is of the movie The Godfather. It depicts the Italian Mafia which is the highest level of gangsters in American history. They have not only been the topic of films and songs, but have influenced the way men and women dress and talk. Almost every facet of pop culture has a bit of the mafia in its existence.

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STREET GANGS
  • The picture below is from the movie Colors which depicts street gang violence in Los Angeles. The movie takes us into the lives of two police officers as they patrol gang riddled neighborhoods in the inner city. These group of men (gangs) are attractive to young males and females growing up in inner cities because of that need to belong to something.

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PIMPS
  • The movie below is of the 1970’s film The Mack with head actor Max Julien. The movie explores the life of pimping, profession so many young men glorify. The guy in the movie who is able to have all the women, nice cars, clothes, and the gift of the gab. These types of movies took over in the 1970’s spurring out a generation of young men chasing the pimp dream.

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DRUG DEALERS
  • The last movie is of the fictional character Scarface. A megalomaniac drug dealer who sold cocaine; a key figure in so many young men selling drugs in the 1980’s and songs being made in hip hop. The drug dealer has always been glorified, so much so that famous musicians bare the names of some of these men.

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downfalls

The problem with all the movies that I just named are the downfalls in each film. There is no riding into the sunset at the end, only heartache. You have never heard of a retired drug dealer, gang member, pimp, or mobster. They meet their demise, yet for some reason it never stops people from following in the footsteps. Because we have such deep connection to these lawless men.


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OUTLAWZ: THE FASCINATION WITH THE CRIMINAL UNDERWORLD

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“They play hard, take what they want, and live it up.”


We watch movies about them, documentaries, and even read their life stories. They are the criminal underworld and for whatever reason we have this fascination with them. The most notable would have to be the Italian Mafia. They have been the interest and the inspiration for so many films in mainstream America. But what is it; what is it about these outlaws that intrigue society so much. The mafia is the biggest, there are also drug cartels and bank robbers as well. There is this mystique about them that attracts us to the life. None of us have the guts to live their lives, yet we are attracted to who they are and what they do.

Let’s look at the cast of people starting with the most popular; the American Mafia. No matter if it’s the Italians in New York and Chicago to the Irish in Boston, we are attracted like magnets to the mafia. From the way they dress to their cordial personalities. Even with the gentlemen like qualities, we still know what they are capable of doing under the right circumstance. But Image result for mafianonetheless we are allured by the racketeering, money laundering, loan sharking, gambling, and light weight drug trafficking. They take what they want and if the authorities put pressure on me, then hey, why not pay them off as well. Then once holidays come around, let’s hand out toys and turkeys to the community. It made them infamous with the law and revered with the public.

But what about the drug cartels? Guys like Frank Lucas to Pablo Escobar all the way to today with El Chapo. We hear about them running multi-billion dollar organizations and eluding authorities. Their lifestyles are so over the top with luxury vehicles, expensive jewelry, and palatial real estate. Their Related imagemuscle in how they deal with people leaves us terrified, yet they still have this aura about them that you stand on the sidelines and gawk. They have been immortalized in our pop culture, mainly through hip hop/rap lyrics. But why, what is the real reason we are so attracted to the criminal underworld?

In my opinion, they represent everything that we hate about our government, that the government makes us do. The don’t pay taxes, buy and sell whatever they want, and live over the top lifestyle most of us can only dream about. And when they die, we have these photos that almost serve as shrines making them martyrs. The communities they live in are more protected by them than our law enforcement. Everyone knows who runs the neighborhood and respects who runs the neighborhood. Unlike the judicial system which could allow people to walk free, you don’t break the laws and codes of their world. And that code is the biggest thing we respect. On paper, systematically, there is code in our society, but our politicians break that code and promise at every turn.

In the end, we will always be fascinated with the criminal underworld. Their lives seem to be so much more fascinating than our own lives. Plus, the very representatives that are hired to represent the people, these criminals flip them the finger to. We’re able to look on at how for once politicians are forced to do their jobs to catch these outlaws. The allure to the gangster lifestyle is eternal and will never end. Because as long as there is a law that could potentially be broken, someone will always try to find ways around it.


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STREET ENTREPRENEURSHIP: IF INNER HUSTLERS COULD HARNESS THAT FOR GOOD

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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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848: NARCOTICS CHARGES AND MISUNDERSTOOD LAWS THAT AFFECT A COMMUNITY

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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.