Tag Archives: drugs

As Advertised

Here’s a quiz about possible news headlines:

‘Pigs fly.’

‘August snowstorm hits the American South.’

‘Contraband include items marked ‘Bag Full of Drugs’.’

‘Donald Trump admits he’s not qualified to be president.’

Guess which one of these is real.

I almost know what you’re thinking: it’s the pigs, right?


Law enforcement officials have one of the toughest jobs in the world – especially in the U.S. and especially in Florida.  (Florida has become legendary for its plethora of criminal oddities.)  But a routine traffic stop on February 1 turned into an unexpected bonanza, when a police dog alerted his handler to the possible presence of drugs in the car.  A quick search yielded – hold your breath – 2 small bags marked…‘Bag Full of Drugs’.

If I had read this online, I would have checked the source more than a few times.  But it’s for real.  Inside the bags, police found 75 grams (2.6 ounces) of methamphetamine, more than a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the date-rape drug GHB, 3.6 grams (0.12 ounces) of fentanyl, plus ecstasy, cocaine and assorted paraphernalia.

The Drug Enforcement Agency could only have dreamed of this good fortune with “El Chapo” Guzman!

And I wish I was making this up because it would prove just how twisted The Chief’s mentality can be on the day before the Saturday after Valentine’s Day!  As if you, dear readers, need anymore proof!

The moral of the story?  Hell if I know!  That’s why I’m telling this story to you people!

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Stiff Competition

Another candidate for the Darwin Awards has surfaced in Berlin.  Danny Polaris thought he’d make a recent night out one he wouldn’t forget.  So took a Viagra and, after an evening of partying, went home with a nurse he met out at some club (I suspect).  There, his new “friend” decided to up the excitement and inject Danny’s penis with some kind of still-unknown “stimulant”.  Polaris says he felt fine – until a few days later when he realized he’d developed a painful condition called priapism.  This is one of the unspoken medical anomalies that urologists and the Roman Catholic Church have warned men about for years.

As of August 11, Polaris is still in the hospital, still applying ice packs to his genitalia, reading the Bible, listening to tapes of old women talking about the “not so fresh feeling” and avoiding the Cartoon Network.  No relief appears in sight.  He seems to have no shame in going public with his ordeal and has even detailed his trauma on Instagram.  Friends have also set up a page on the Go Fund Me network to help pay for his treatment and rehabilitation.  I really don’t want to know what “rehabilitation” would mean in this case.

All I can say now is just don’t ask him what’s up!

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No Tears


Last month actor Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose in a hotel room in Vancouver, British Columbia.  He was 31.  Monteith, a star of the popular musical TV series “Glee,” apparently had struggled with drug addiction for some time.  I had never heard of him until his death; due mainly to the fact I’ve never watched “Glee.”  Something about cheery high school kids breaking out into song in the midst of their teenage angst is just too saccharine for me.  But, while I didn’t know Monteith even existed until after he died, I’ve heard of his sad dilemma too many times.  His circumstances are all too common: celebrity – drug addiction – rehab – dead in a hotel room.  Think Janis Joplin; think Whitney Houston.  Drug addiction and celebrity-hood are almost symbiotic.  It’s truly heartbreaking when someone becomes hooked on drugs or alcohol to the point that it rules and ultimately destroys their lives.  But, despite the tragedy, I simply can’t bring myself to cry for them.  I have the same reaction to someone who smokes for 40 years and comes down with lung cancer, or who fucks almost everybody they meet and contracts HIV.  Yes, it’s sad, but what did you think would happen?

I also find hypocrisy in the mix.  Trayvon Martin, for example, only had a trace of THC in his system when he was killed by an overzealous neighborhood watchman last year, but he was branded a thug.  Monteith had been in and out of drug treatment for most of his young life, but he’s considered troubled.  The glaze of celebrity seems to upgrade one’s station in life, and thuggish behavior transmutes into personal issues.

Drug addiction costs the U.S. roughly $160 billion annually; second only to alcohol abuse, which costs us about $185 billion every year.  Those are just hard dollar figures related to various tangible things like hospitalizations and property damage.  There’s no way to put a price on the emotional toll substance abuse takes on people.  There’s no real means to assess the heartbreak parents feel as they look at their dead child in a coffin, or the fear residents of a neighborhood racked by drug violence experience every night.

I don’t feel too sorry for people like Monteith because they pretty much bring the damage upon themselves.  They’re essentially responsible for the incessant carnage along the U.S. – México border.  Since 2006, when then-Mexican president Felipe Calderón launched a massive crackdown on drug trafficking, some 40,000 people have been killed.  Thousands more have disappeared.  And, not all of them are tied to the drug cartels.  Not every victim is a drug mule, or a hit man for a powerful drug lord.  Many of them are innocent people caught in the crossfire of spontaneously brutal narcotics battles.  Others victims are people who dared to refuse to bow to the cartels’ extortion tactics.  The U.S. has supplied the funding, which only makes sense, since the problem lies here.  Mexican officials like to point out that, for every Mexican who uses illegal drugs, there are up 10 Americans who do.  The other half of the problem, of course, is the gross incompetence and glaring corruption of the Mexican political system, as well as the governing bodies of other Latin American countries.  But, if people didn’t have an insatiable appetite for narcotics, the border region wouldn’t be in the vise grip of bloodshed.

Drug laws in the United States have always had a racial component.  The first – anti-opium laws passed in the 1870s – were aimed at Chinese immigrants.  The first cocaine laws, passed in the early 1900s, were designed to prevent Black men from raping White women, even though White women at the time were much more likely to use cocaine.  It’s hard to imagine now, but cocaine was once perfectly legal.  It was a common substance in many cold medicines.  And – in case you didn’t know – it was the principal element in Coca Cola.  Contemporary narcotics laws – most stemming from Richard Nixon’s self-proclaimed “War on Drugs” – have put more people in jail in the past four decades than at any time in U.S. history.

But, think how Cory Monteith obtained his drugs.  He had to go out and get it; he had to know where to get it.  Or, he had to pay someone to go out and get it.  Or, know someone who could bring it to him.  The stuff didn’t just magically appear in his hands.  No one accidentally dropped it into his luggage – a ruse some celebrities have tried before.

I can’t relate to the anguish of drug addiction, but I understand alcoholism.  I had known for a long time I had a problem.  But, it all came into focus for me back in the mid-1990s, when a young man named Byron* arrived to work in the same bank as I did.  Not much taller than me, Byron was affable and intelligent; his wire-rimmed glasses making him look especially distinguished.  And, he walked with a pronounced limp – one result of a catastrophic drunk driving wreck a few years earlier.  He was returning home from his job as a waiter, around 1:00 one weekday, a college student trying to balance school and work; when he noticed the car ahead of him suddenly veer off to the right.  Then, he saw a pair of headlights bearing down on him.  That’s the last thing he recalled before waking up in the hospital some two weeks later.  In a strange twist to the usual drunk-driving tragedies, he had survived, and the intoxicated driver had died.  But, Byron wasn’t much better.  His body was damaged as badly as his sense of security.  He spent months in recovery, which included a partial hip replacement and a prosthetic lower leg.  But, aside from being alive, he found something good amidst the tragedy: that’s how he met his wife; she was a nurse in the hospital.

Hearing his story made me reflect on one weekend night in 1988.  I attended a party at a coworker’s place where I consumed plenty of wine and even smoked some marijuana.  I have to concede marijuana never did anything to me, except dry out my throat.  But, as I headed home, I spotted a set of headlights far off in the distance.  They were coming right at me.  I managed to steer right and return to the proper side of the road.  But, that fleeting second scared me enough to stay sober – for a while.  I can’t remember the number of times I’ve driven intoxicated.  Occasionally, I was smart enough to lie down on the front seat of my vehicle for a while; other times, I pulled off the road; on some nights, I was fortunate to have a friend drive.  I ruined entire weekends because I let Friday happy hours get out of control.  A few times I had to take a day off work because I’d imbibed too much on a week night.  I recall one Friday several years ago where a long happy hour inexplicably metamorphosed into suicidal mania.  I arrived home suddenly feeling lethargic and viciously depressed.  I don’t know what came over me or why, but I managed to calm myself down after a while.  I haven’t had any such events in years.  I’ve long since learned to control myself.  Some people never get that proverbial grip on themselves.  And, the outcomes are filled with sadness.

America’s drug policy obviously hasn’t worked out as well as its designers intended.  We saw what happened with alcohol prohibition early in the last century.  People still consumed it, and its banishment led to a long series of crime waves.  Once prohibition was repealed, alcohol was regulated and taxed.  That didn’t exactly solve the problem of alcoholism.  But, anti-drunk driving campaigns that began in the 1980s raised awareness of that particular crisis, and people take alcoholism much more seriously now.  Personally, I think the U.S. at least could legalize marijuana.  But, legalization of any narcotic is a much more complex matter.

If we could somehow track that one last drug hit Cory Monteith consumed, I doubt if he’d turn out to be the only casualty.  God only knows how many people died just so he could get a fix.  Yes, it’s tragic.  It’s never a good thing when someone that young dies, much less under those circumstances.  But, my heart doesn’t ache too much for them.  I just can’t bring myself to shed too many tears.

*Name changed.

Image courtesy Pomegranates & Pearls.

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Bad Drug, Bad Drug!


Yes, drugs are bad – most drugs, that is, like crack cocaine and methamphetamine.  But, it seems as if many prescription drugs are equally detrimental to one’s health – to the point where they’re probably not even worth taking.  If you’ve seen TV commercials advertising stuff like Nasonex or Viagra, it seems the adverse side effects outweigh any potential benefits.  There’s actually a legitimate reason why this information is provided.  For years pharmaceutical companies could not advertise their products on television without also listing the potential side effects.

I remember seeing a commercial for an allergy drug in the late 1990s that showed a person windsurfing through a meadow.  I can’t recall the exact verbiage accompanying the ad, but I got the hint that it was to help alleviate allergies.  And, what better way than to show someone gleefully hurtling through a pollen-laden field on a surfboard!  Hint, hint, the commercial quaintly implied; if you suffer from allergies, you too could do this.  I wondered what people with less vivacious imaginations than mine tried to make of it.  I mean, I would have come up with something more direct, like rubbing your face in the furry but of a German shepherd.  Or, getting drunk on beer at some rural East Texas bar and passing out in a field of bluebonnets.  I once had a German shepherd and I’m from Texas, so I write what I know.  For the record, I never stuck my face in that dog’s ass.  I’m just trying to make a point!

Many of these drugs have the same ill side effects: headaches; diarrhea; nausea; cramping; loosened sphincters; abdominal pain; numbness; swelling of the throat; developing a fascination with Kim Kardashian; shortness of breath; loss of coordination; the urge to write a profane-laced letter to your congressman, etc.  The drug Chantix, for example, has been linked to hellacious hallucinations and violent tendencies.  Ambien has been associated with sleepwalking and even sleep-driving.  I guess from the way people in Dallas drive, every third person in this city is on Ambien.

Now, let’s be honest.  Wouldn’t you just rather just suffer from an ailment, or even die from it, than fall in love with Kim Kardashian?  If I want to see hyper-tanned chicks with big butts who think they’re better than anyone else, I’ll attend a fucking drag show.

But, if you listen closely to these commercials, the dangerous side effects of certain drugs aren’t just dangerous, they’re too damn plentiful!  The voice-over narration rattles them off like spit coming out of Barbara Walter’s mouth when she tries to pronounce supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  Why bother?

The real problem is that Americans are too drug-dependent.  We’ve become a narco-state; reaching for a pill with every ache and every cough.  We want to suppress what often comes naturally – such as reacting to pollen in the air with a sneeze, or to someone who says ‘Axe’ instead of ‘Ask’ with a crow bar – by grabbing a little plastic bottle.

So, what do you folks think?  I’d love to know how my readers feel about this morass.  In the meantime, I need a screwdriver.


Filed under Essays