What A Stint In Rehab Taught Me About White People’s Feelings About Black People’s Pain » VSB

Featured, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

What A Stint In Rehab Taught Me About White People’s Feelings About Black People’s Pain

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

 

Every time I read about or see a news story on the opioid epidemic, I greet it with a resounding “So what?” It’s an admittedly vindictive stance that I am in no way ashamed of. When I see that whole towns are languishing under the tyranny of the needle, I couldn’t bring myself to care less and you don’t need to have an advanced degree in Why People Don’t Give A Shit About Something to understand why.

When white people befall the same tragedies as black people have, the narrative becomes different. The words change subtly to achieve the desired affects. White people get an “epidemic” while black people get a “plague.” The word plague ever so delicately indicates that the inky black pestilence slithering its way through black neighborhoods is our fault while an epidemic…well, an epidemic could befall any innocent bystander. 

Vann Newkirk recently articulated this distinction in The Atlantic

From “What The ‘Crack Baby’ Panic Reveals About The Opioid Epidemic

The article is an exemplar in a field of public-health-oriented writing about the opioid crisis—the most deadly and pervasive drug epidemic in American history—that has shaped popular and policy attitudes about the crisis. But the wisdom of that field has not been applied equally in recent history. The story of Jamie Clay and Jay’la Cy’anne stood out to me because it is so incongruous with the stories of “crack babies” and their mothers that I’d grown up reading and watching.

The term itself still stings. “Crack baby” brings to mind hopeless, damaged children with birth defects and intellectual disabilities who would inevitably grow into criminals. It connotes inner-city blackness, and also brings to mind careless, unthinking black mothers who’d knowingly exposed their children to the ravages of cocaine. Although the science that gave the world the term was based on a weak proto-study of only 23 children and has been thoroughly debunked since, the panic about “crack babies” stuck. The term made brutes out of people of color who were living through wave after wave of what were then the deadliest drug epidemics in history.

And when I see these stories, I remember whole black neighborhoods blighted by crack and the toll that it took and is still taking in black neighborhoods.

And then I remember…

Few years back, a friend of mine hit me upside the head and told me I needed to get it together. My life was falling apart and, whether you believe it or not, there comes a certain time in every person’s life where being high all the time ain’t cute no more for you or anybody else in your life and off to rehab I went. Reluctantly.

In many ways, rehab is a lot like how it’s depicted in the movies. You wander white hallways in your pajamas and there are endless group therapy sessions and tedious meetings with counselors about “getting to the bottom” of your problem. But, mostly it’s boring. After the novelty of the free Jello wears off, you don’t have much to do except not get high and this is the time when you really get to meet people. My rehab was a United Nations of junkies. We had good ol’ boys, and debutante Beckys. We had Jew, Gentile, and Heathen. White, black, brown, and undeclared skin tones from different backgrounds and different economic brackets. White trophy wives whose “wine with lunch” took on a life of its own and consumed them and we all got along. We all talked. We all became fast and intimate friends. We all got to know one another and we all helped one another and ugly cried in each other’s presence. Everyone had an ugly story. My roommate was a white yokel from way back and we talked about our problems until the wee hours and I liked him. You make temporary but deep friendships in rehab because you are at your most desperate. Your saddest. And when I raise my middle finger to all the white people overdosing across the country, I am forced to remember this. And then I have to think and allow my memories to soften my position. “Not all of them are bad” I have to tell myself.

It doesn’t seem like most white people think like this, though. No matter what happens to them, they allow their delusions of superiority to take over. They’re addicted to it. It’s more comforting to them than lunch wine and more powerful than Oxycontin. They don’t reflect because they don’t have to. I am the one who is stuck having to think things through until my basic humanity takes the wheel.

After rehab, I have held on to all my friends of color from that period in our lives. All of them. I have had to dump most of the white ones due to their support of Trump and have come to the realization that rehab was the great equalizer. White people have to be brought low in order to exhibit humanity and I have no doubt that if I stepped on to an elevator with one of those trophy wives today she would snatch her purse to her bosom and cradle it like it was a bottle of Malbec. And I’ll have to be the one to remember and know that centuries of deluded and hateful thinking are far more powerful than any drug could ever hope to be.

Brian Broome

Brian Broome is a Creative Writing/English major at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has been published in Creative Nonfiction, The Ocean State Review, and Delta’s Pride Magazine. Brian's work explores the topics of racism, masculinity and the African American male.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    I say this about the crack vs, opioid situation. I never saw a commercial for rehab services for crack or an ounce of compassion from any lawmaker.

    • Kas

      It is amazing how the tone has changed, and the level of compassion displayed. Honestly, I’m like fuck em. No one cared when it was a drug that allegedly only destroyed black people.

      • Uncle Remus

        Errybody knew and knows that the biggest money is made on the corridors to the suburbs, not deep in the hood. Crack and herron are both bigger in white communities than in black ones.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          co-pays have made the biggest drug dealers rich beyond their wildest dreams

          • Uncle Remus

            How bout the same investment firms bankrolling pharmaceutical companies are getting in on rehab centers in Appalachia? Now that is big pimpin, pimpin.

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              Create the problem and the solution.

              I don’t see the end game.
              Them folks have everything worth having by their measure at least.

              • Kas

                Not true. Want they want is more. But there isn’t enough to fill their empty lives.

                • I’ve since learned that is the answer to my question of “HOW MUCH MONEY DOES IT TAKE?!?” But they are empty so there is no end. More. More. More. And anything to get it.

              • Wild Cougar

                They don’t have the only thing worth having

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Or how the crack vs powder disparity in sentencing being used in meth cases is sending a lot of Dwight folks away for a very long time. I see a lot more Dwight folks looking to change the sentencing laws than I’ve ever seen.

        • SororSalsa

          And no one cares, because meth has a “type” that many Americans don’t care about. Meth was the great equalizer, and I think it embarrasses a lot of white people to have to admit that they’re just as much of a problem as anyone else.

      • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

        The problem always becomes a problem when it starts affecting rich white people

        • SororSalsa

          Or just white people in general. Because when folks started to get addicted to prescription painkillers before turning to heroin, the whole conversation changed.Now that middle and upper class white folks are the addicts, we need “sympathy” instead of punishment for these poor victims. Meh…up until very recently, white people were still in denial. I watched a documentary about heroin addicts in CA, and when reading a review of it online, many people praised it but said it wasn’t realistic because the addicts were all white. My brother is a heroin addict, and he surely didn’t start doing it with black people. But if he gets arrested with his pillbillly friends, guess who’s going to jail and guess who gets a recommendation for rehab?

          • Emilyjdavis


            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !pk23d:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
            !pk23d:
            ??
            ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash313FinderTouchGetPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????:::::!pk23l..,.

          • Mochasister

            I’m sorry about your brother. It hurts to see a loved one in the grips of addiction.

            • SororSalsa

              Thank you. What hurts the most is that my mother is an enabler, and doesn’t understand that she isn’t helping him. It’s put a lot of strain on our family,

          • Tashiahtomlin


            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !pl17d:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
            !pl17:
            ??
            ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash307GroupUniversalGetPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????:::::!pl17..,…..

        • kartashok

          Redneck devils get the same compassion. It’s because of white, a n*gger in a suit is still a n*gger to them.

      • Queen@

        I think this is more of a class issue than a color (at this point). Many whom have access to opiods are not in the same socioeconomic has those seeking crack.

        Now, heroin is another story. Well, that and flacka.

        • SororSalsa

          The class divide is what made people sit up and pay attention. When pills and heroin were ravaging Appalachia and the parts of America that middle/upper class whites didn’t care about, no one really cared. Heroin really isn’t different these days…many prescription opioid addicts turn to heroin because it’s a lot cheaper than pills.

          • Ramreiz Manuel

            Because them crackers are junkies

        • Melanie Evankovich

          But that’s the thing. At some point, funds or access to the opioids runs out. And heroin is cheap and plentiful. And horrifying. A filthy street drug! It’s one thing for Tad and Becky to get into the medicine cabinet and take too many pills for that tennis injury and pass out on the master bathroom floor. That is a terrible accident. But when Tad and Becky show up emaciated and stinking with all sorts of unsavory characters under a bridge–well, that is absolutely horrifying. Had Tommy or Bobbi been found passed out in the cramped bathroom in the double-wide at the trailer park, well, they were always trouble. And what did you expect in such awful surroundings? Of course they’d get into something. But the other kids–the master bathroom kids–they had it all. They fell so far, the fall itself is horrifying. Because black, white, brown, red, or yellow, we ALL want a master bathroom. The idea that somebody got there, got their kids there, and still threw it away is mind-boggling, head-shaking, stomach-churning.

          I absolutely agree that Class is a huge part of this. That said, I also have NO DOUBT that color is also a big part — because it’s a big part of everything. It’s the perception of “other” rearing its ugly head again. White people identify with white people (and so on for all the lovely rainbow of colors) and aspire to be white people with master bathrooms and full medicine cabinets. And in the back of their (fine, OUR) minds, reluctantly, we identify with the trailer park types we fear becoming. But white people will NEVER be black people, and it’s too easy to make the rules for Others different.

        • kartashok

          A n*gger in a suit is still a n*gger. It’s 100% a race issue. Your working class white boyfriend is still a white boy, with all the privileges of being one. Get your head outta the sand. Working class white people are even bigger enemies of people of color than the rich white people, who fight for liberal causes and give us jobs.

      • raul

        I dunno. In my white folks circles there’s still a pretty big contingent of “let the junkies OD” to be found. Their tune really only changes when it’s actually their family. Then it’s a judgement free zone.

        • Lamar Latrell

          Regular people haven’t cottoned on, but the politicians have. And they’re the ones making the laws and providing resources.

        • Lydia Nayo

          Your circle is special. The national dialogue is now ‘epidemic’ and empathy and treatment centers and even an element of the Health Care Conversation being about treating opioid addicts.
          Yeah, your circle is special.

      • Miles

        Crackhead is deragatory, there is not even a deragatory term for opiate addicts.

        • Amber Pawula-Marcin

          I’m not saying the same level of stigma is present, but cokehead is also a derogatory term. And junkie is pretty equal opportunity derogatory whomever it is directed at.

          • SororSalsa

            True…whether they’re popping pills or shooting heroin, they’re all considered junkies.

        • Karen Bean

          Horsehead…

        • kartashok

          Neanderthugs is what I call them.

    • At my job I recently got to sit in on a discussion (amongst prosecutor’s and DA’s and such) about the Heroin crisis…and while I appreciate the seriousness of the issue, I can’t help but notice…the difference in treatment…there was so little talk about locking up the dealers and whatnot…there was a lot of talk about getting heroin and especially fentanyl laced heroin (b/c it kills more) off the streets…but when crack was running through black communities…I feel like there was a definite push to rid the streets of the DEALERS…and not the drugs…but…that’s all a part of the plan isn’t it?

      • Jasmine

        I hear about it a lot in Annapolis whether its commercials, signs, etc. They REALLY push the narrative of getting people help vs getting the dealers and cleaning up the streets. I have yet to see people of color taken into consideration on many things here, though. It eerily reminds me of some place featured on Teen Mom.

        • Here too. I live in NY where the heroin and fentanyl epidemic has hit…probably the hardest out of all the Northeastern states, and there’s advertisements everywhere about getting ppl help getting off opiods…I don’t’ recall seeing any such ads when I was young and crack was a major issue.

    • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

      Crack was doing the Lord’s work it seems plus it fits the narrative that blk ppl are naturally indolent and prone to vices

      • Uncle Remus

        In poor communities, vice is symptomatic of essential wrongness (what’s wrong with those people?). In rich communities, vice is symptomatic of external wrongness (how has society failed us?). Usually, the first is the center of the corruption that threatens the second. If you’re waiting for a connection to be made between the drug epidemics of the 80s and 90s and that of today, you can be assured that our drug culture as portrayed in rap music is what is destroying the young people in the opioid epidemic.

        • NicoleO

          Rap music? Is rap music destroying the young people in Appalachia?

          • SororSalsa

            I think that a lot of white people in America feel divorced from the folks in Appalachia and similar areas. I’ve heard people talk about those areas almost as negatively as they talk about the inner city.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              A lot of folks act like the Wonderful World of Whites Documentary was just an one off event; the White family and the Black folk that use don’t evoke sympathy but Chris Christie’s white lawyer friends that are addicts should be covered in a blanket of love and unicorn glitter cause they’re special whites.

        • Amber Pawula-Marcin

          This is one of the most insightful things I’ve read, personally.

      • kartashok

        OPIOIDS are doing the Lord’s work, killing our oppressors. And look how Uncle Remus blames RAP music for it. Haha. Blame your white daddy.

    • miss em

      And about the only benefit to racism like ever is that we’re seen as superhuman monsters who are impervious to pain and therefore don’t get prescribed opioids as often. I once had a sinus infection and went to the clinic and since I present like an upper middle class woman, the doctor wrote me a scrip for 30 Vicodin. For basically a headache. They just give them out like candy. Also, scrips are much easier to give people than physical therapy, nutrition help to eat better to relieve weight issues for aching backs and knees and the like. This country is garbage most of the time…

      • SororSalsa

        Scripts are cheaper than PT, nutrition counseling, etc.

        I was reading an article recently that said that drug dealers are lacing cocaine with heroin in urban areas, because minorities are not doing heroin in the numbers that white people are and the dealers are trying to increase their customer base. Not sure if there’s any truth to it, but I don’t not believe it.

        • Banrion

          Just yesterday a multi-family home near me was quarantined after 3 people overdosed in one apartment. Carfentanil was suspected, but it did turn out to be cocaine + fentanyl.

    • orchid921

      There’s a rehab facility commercial that airs all the time here in GA and it features a very young white guy deadpanning the phrase “I used crack cocaine.” Every time I see the ad, I’m always jolted by that guy and wonder why I never these ads during the real crack epidemic.

      • Mr. Mooggyy

        Oh you mean this little jewel!?

        https://youtu.be/ZeIsWu_pXhw

        • King Beauregard

          That’s every white grandmother’s concept of a nice Jewish doctor.

          Also, the jug-eared guy at the end makes me laugh every time.

        • kartashok

          Addictions wasn’t a disease when non-whites were dying from it and being murdered by police for it. It isn’t a disease when white people die from it. They just aren’t dying fast enough.

      • Amber Pawula-Marcin

        These ads annoy the piss out of me precisely because everyone in them does illegal drugs. Why isn’t there a pill addict, or a woman who can’t put down the bottle of wine? In some ways, they serve to further stigmatize addiction by limiting it to illegal drugs as the problem.

    • Photoshop’s a helluva drug

      This is the biggest piece of racism of our time. And my friends and family are sick of hearing me say it but it burns me so bad. Drug users were baaad people with no morals or characters. They needed to be locked up and we do need to put any money into helping or their families. Now it’s a health issue, a chronic disease. We need money to help these poor people who were made addicts not by theor own failures but because of doctors over prescribing and drug companies trying to make a profits. This is the ultimate in white people ytpepoing.

    • TheVilleintheA

      The black community tried to have a PSA regarding crack. Remember “Crack Killed AppleJack”? That song was meant to expose what could happen to you if you tried crack, it was pretty graphic for that time. That song was barred from radio play.

      • Mochasister

        I’ve been looking for someone else who remembered that song.

    • Miles

      And the irony is how did cocaine then crack get to America and the inner city? Amerikkka keeps propping itself up at the expense of black bodies. A convuluted attempt to battle “communism” was an excuse to destroy generations of black lives. Eff an opioid epidemic.

    • Transbutter

      You said this!

  • Me

    I recently was hospitalized due to pregnancy complications, and I swear I spent half my hospital stay having to convince those nurses and doctors that I don’t need the strength of pain killers they were trying to prescribe me. And for as long as I live, I will continue to reiterate that I’m not trying to get hopped up on medication like those little white suburban junkies they want everybody to feel sorry for. These are the same functioning junkies that I work with who whenever I do end up in the doctor’s office for whatever reason always think asking me to “share” my drugs with them, or celebrating the presumed “awesome drugs I just scored” is a hilarious joke. I don’t volunteer my assistance to junkies. White folks will fight this battle alone. And no, I don’t care how many “black folks are addicted to opioids too.”

    • Val

      Doctors are notorious for under-medicating Black pain and over-medicating White pain.

      • Me

        For my own personal preferences, I tend to prefer it that way *for me*, but only because I tend to prefer more natural remedies. Now will I let that isht happen with the child soon to be formally known as fetus? Never (to an extent)!

    • Gibbous

      On the other side of the coin, you’d be shocked at how mad/stern I had to be with a doctor that told me they wanted to send me home w/o pain meds. I told them that I wasn’t leaving without them because I’d be right back in the ambulance within the day! (Turned out to be big time pelvic adhesions, not visible on any scans, but the worst pain I’d ever had in my life!)

      Also, try being a black woman and getting pain medicine for a gynecological issue (you know . . . hysteria!)

      • Me

        I’ve been there too, but in general I tend to tough out pain more than rely on medication. So my obgyn has been hella stingy with any kind of medication since my first trimester even though I’m pretty sure I suffered from hyperemesis in a very severe way, and she kept brushing me off as if I was just an overreacting first timer. That said, I did end up surviving, and I’m happier to have figured out how to do so without those drugs in my system than I ever would’ve been to even be slightly over medicated.

        • Gibbous

          Look, I’m a firm believer to each their own, but when I’m curled up in the fetal position for 3-4 days at a time with and pain level of 12 on a scale of 1 to 10, bring on the pain meds. There is no reason for me to live in that kind of agony when there is modern medicine available. I almost NEVER get sick (as evidenced by my 17 weeks of accrued sick time) and with electronic medical records, 5 visits to the ER and multiple visits to the GI and other specialists, it’s quite clear that something serious is going on. There is no way you can rest or heal or even diagnose if every moment is agony!

          I like to think I’m tough, but there is no reason in the world, in 2017, working at a major medical research institution, that I need to be that tough.

          • Me

            Totally understandable, and I generally don’t knock anyone who needs pain medication. I do believe that over time practitioners have started to rely on medication as a crutch rather than focusing on pain management/resolution, which leads to people becoming desensitized to the effects of medication and eventually dependent though. I blame this on the corporate models of Big Pharma. For me, I grew up on natural remedies for all but the most serious conditions, so even when I was rushed to the ER, I had to make sure to tell everyone in the room to lower the dose of morphine they tried to give me because in the two times it’s ever been administered to me, it made me immediately more ill from how strong it is. I also elected to leave the hospital at a level 7 pain and forego the prescription the doctor gave me on the way out because my personal stance is that I don’t need to keep taking meds once my body starts showing signs that it’s managing the pain better than when I walked in. Had I left it up to the hospital, they would’ve kept me hooked up for another 3 days until I told them I made it down to 0 pain, but even at a level 7, my body had already swelled up from the meds and IV because it had gotten more than what it needed to deal with my condition. I spent those last 3 days at home instead of the hospital, and by the following weekend, my body was mostly back to normal and the baby was still doing great. That’s just how I manage pain though. Again, I don’t dictate to anyone else how to manage their bodies, and I would never force a child to tough out pain either (within reason). I just don’t need any doctors turning me into some suburban junkie, so I err on the side of caution whenever I go to them with illnesses.

  • Uncle Remus

    Thank you. That was beautiful and a call to a higher-mindedness. Unfortunately, I am still resistant to that call. I can objectively recognize the need to use this moment as a means towards greater general humanity in the treatment of addictions, but deep in my gut I still am willing to watch their communities burn.

    • Ms.Moon

      I’ve taken this advice to heart I read somewhere on the internets this person said she’s giving the white community just the exact amount of compassion that they gave the black community during the crack epidemic. I thought that’s quite fair and that’s exactly what I’m going to dish out, measure for measure what you gave is what you get it’s only fair.

      • Kanesha Roy

        I’m all for that fairness.

  • siante

    Man this guy is a good writer! Excellent piece!

  • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

    Good piece

  • Giantstepp

    “….I remember whole black neighborhoods blighted by crack and the toll that it took and is still taking in black neighborhoods.”

    Yep, lived thru it too. Seemingly happened overnight. I was a teen in DC during the mid 80’s, and can remember when murders wasn’t a real thing for my generation. Crack came and murders started happening simultaneously. Walking zombies (crackheads) started appearing stalking the streets 24/7–crazy times.

    And the violence that started during that time has never ceased and is a direct result of the “crack era”. Nobody (white people/government etc) cared. Which is why I probably don’t care about this. Sad but true.

    • KeyBrad

      Same here. When I think back to those days, there was always someones mother, auntie uncle..etc, first rumored, then you would see them like..dam. Sadly, I still know a couple of people still on crack since the 80’s.

      • Giantstepp

        Wait a minute. Still on crack since the 80’s? Wow. I’d expect them to be dead than still on crack. That’s pushing 30 years. Can’t imagine. God help em.

        • Uncle Remus

          Crack was never the uncontrollable demon it was billed as. The ‘one hit and you’re addicted’ and ‘crack baby’ narratives were all part of the same story as welfare queens and superpredators. I’m not suggesting it as a new hobby or a lose weight fast plan for anyone, but, yeah, there are functioning crackheads just like functioning alcoholics.

          • Giantstepp

            Well, they must’ve had “super crack” in Southeast DC. It hit hard and destroyed our community. And maybe my lying eyes can’t be trusted either. I saw the equivalent of zombies overnight after becoming addicted. Just not my experience.

            • Kas

              I believe DMX is a semi functional crack head.

              • Mr. Mooggyy

                That ni99a barks! Try again bruh!

                • Kas

                  Crack head since the 90’s and still alive?

                  • Mr. Mooggyy

                    Touchet!

              • Giantstepp

                There will always be functioning addicts and alcoholics. But I lived in the eye of the storm–ground zero, so I know that many aren’t.

                • Kas

                  My family members that were crack heads were not functional. Not even a little bit.

                  • Giantstepp

                    As most in my community weren’t either.

            • Uncle Remus

              second try:
              Concentrated poverty (like in souf eas’ and in the SWATS, etc., etc.) aggravates symptoms. Remember that the folks who were first getting crack had NO idea what they were getting into. Over and over again I heard stories about folks trying something new because the weed man had a cheaper new high. W33d back in the day did not hit like the super saiyan stuff they got out here now, so poor folks looking for self administered medication for chronic, un treated physical and mental pain went to it. And when you are poor and live in poor places surrounded by other poor people, there’s no way to hide the effects. Everything is on front street. And then there was the money and all h3!! broke loose. I’m not saying that crack ain’t wack; I’m saying that a lot of the symptoms of the early crack years had more to do with larger social issues.

              • Mr. Mooggyy

                I told myself, when I get to the point when I don’t have to answer to the man, I am rolling a J and enjoying life. Then, I thought about this new weed these ni99as are on now. Then I think about what it will be when I’m ready to partake.

                ….may have to leave that one alone!

              • Giantstepp

                Okay, regarding poverty being concentrated to a certain area and the symptoms associated all makes sense. I get that. That could be true regarding many different things, positive or negative associated with a particular community. It will out on “front street”. It’s where you live, what you see. But to describe Crack–specifically as NOT being the uncontrollable demon is where I differ. There are always functioning addicts and alcoholics. But crack was indeed a demon and it destroyed.

                • Uncle Remus

                  Yes it is. Yes it did. Yes it still does. It was and still is something that people can be in recovery from, but the opposite story was and is generally told. Part of the reason that rehab for crack is not put forward like rehab for opioids is because people still don’t believe folks can recover. Crack destroyed DC and the ATL in ways we can still see. But folks and the community can still come back if they are helped instead of invaded by a War on Drugs.

                  • Giantstepp

                    “….the reason that rehab for crack is not put forward like rehab for opioids is because people still don’t believe folks can recover.”

                    Thus, not being the uncontrollable demon? If treated equally?
                    I get what you’re saying now. Thanks.

                    • Uncle Remus

                      Sho nuff. I recognize PTSD when I see it, especially when it’s from the same war. Getting all jumpy “it was h3ll out there, pure h3ll”

                    • Giantstepp

                      Lol. Yeah, you feel me. bruh, I am at work and firing off comments in between time. I get it now, and absolutely agree. That PTSD is a mutha! Good teaching. *daps*

                    • Giantstepp

                      Lol. Yeah, you feel me. bruh, I am at work and firing off comments in between time. I get it now, and absolutely agree. That PTSD is something! Good teaching. *daps*

                  • Kas

                    My older cousin who was a crackhead for years, finally got clean and went vegetarian. He now looks younger than all of us. It is possible to get clean.

                    • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

                      So you’re going vegetarian/ vegan too

                    • Kas

                      No, even my vanity has its limits.

                    • Uncle Remus

                      I’m happy for your cousin. We got more family still out there in the street. How do we capitalize on the newfound interest in rehab for the disease of addiction?

          • Val

            When I worked in radio I knew some functioning crackheads.

          • DocMaldo

            Watched this ish a few years ago…all about how some clueless academic let his ego get stroked and his research hijacked to create a false narrative about a potential crack baby epidemic that really never was:

            https://www.nytimes.com/video/booming/100000002226828/crack-babies-a-tale-from-the-drug-wars.html

            Remembered it now that the NYT piece dropped with the “responsibly moving” piece on opiate addiction in Trumpland:

            https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/health/opioid-addiction-babies.html?_r=0

            In short, it’s some bullshyte to the nth degree.

        • KeyBrad

          Yes..off and on…..mostly and currently on. It’s sad.

      • I lived in Chicago, grew up in the 80s and 90s. Just decimated everything. Too many relatives and neighbors addicted. I have a cousin, who is around 40 now, that started (STARTED!!!!) crack around 10-12 years ago. I have no freaking clue how you live through that era and somehow, some way, you put a pipe to your lips. It’s so sad.

    • Mr. Mooggyy

      I was too young to remember the start of the DC crack epidemic, but I remember it at the height (early 90’s). Rayful Edmond ran them streets! DC became the “Murder Captiol”, and it was chaos. As you said, nobody wanted to touch that issue with a 10 mile pole!

      • Giantstepp

        Not much had change by the early 90’s–so you know what it was.

    • Yahmo Bethere

      Had family who lived here for decades. If you had told me when I was 10 that I’d be living in DC as an adult, I would have cried.

  • Val

    The disparate coverage in the media of our addiction vs theirs has been so blatant that even White folks are noticing and speaking up about it. So you know it’s bad.

    • Janelle Doe

      Wow. It really must be.

    • Brown Rose

      I guess I don’t see the coverage. We don’t struggle with opiods because they don’t prescribe to us–because they think we are druggies. I haven’t seen any comparison articles except if they want to highlight gang activities and crime rate spikes in the Black communities.

    • Yahmo Bethere

      I noticed a shift in their responses too. I would always provide “Ehrlichmann” receipts if someone has a question.

  • Queen@

    Let me preference this by saying, I was addicted to Percocet in high school (16). It was prescribed to me after surgery and took a lot to “ween” myself off. I was hooked to Oxy after getting my teeth pulled at 21. I was given a 90 day prescription for something that only needed treatment for 90 mins (at most) Though I generally agree with the sentiments, we must remember the differences in the “boom.”

    Medical professionals, doctors, were/are being paid to over prescribe highly addictive medications. State regulations, or lack of tracking, allowed multiple meds prescribed to the same person for the same issue—without checking.

    These drugs were massed produced by legal entities, marketed, lobbied, and pushed. This wasn’t manufactured in the kitchen or basement with Nino Browns. This wasn’t a case where every batch of crack was different or cocaine strands were unknwon. The system to track docs, meds, and patients was there.

    I say all that to say, this crisis- from a public health (from which I am coming from) standpoint– is one of those things were you wonder where was common sense? And it’s one of those things you can’t ignore because something wasn’t done before.

    • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

      Damn Queen. It’s frightening when health care becomes a racket with little regard for the life of patients.

      • Queen@

        Very much, so. Looking back at that time, I don’t think it was intentional. Scripts come in 30-90 day offerings (normally). In your 7 mins with the doc. You ache, he prescribes. Nothing seemed odd to me or my parentals.

        What is finally coming to light is the pay-for-play that happens within doc offices. You know why Advil isn’t first to be recommended, because Advil execs aren’t paying for outlandish lunches and kickbacks.

    • Uncle Remus

      that was the common sense. pharma got rich at the expense of poorer people. same as the ways that the industrial revolution consumed poor white bodies. one of the benefits of selling white supremacy to poor whites is that they will deny structural oppression even when they are the victims in order to at least be able to say, ‘but i ain’t no ni66er!’

      • Queen@

        But that’s where we disagree. Phrama’s (and doc) tactics weren’t geared towards the poor, they were to the affluent. Those who could afford the designer meds and prescription. I really think an unintended consequence of ACA, was access healthcare brought access to meds (unregulated before BO’s 2nd term) which birth this issue.

        • Uncle Remus

          We may be saying similar things, but with different definitions of poor. Most Americans, when compared to the hedge fund crowd that determine and benefit from pharma’s tactics, are (at least marginally) poor, but many THINK they’re middle class because of their accumulated debt.

          • kingpinenut

            Let the choir sang!

    • Rewind4ThatBehind

      First, you are a Queen for sharing this, surviving, it, and knowing how dangerous it is for people to not misinterpret.

      Secondly, the common sense was always in the almighty dollar. They never cared who bought the product, just as long as it was selling. They never expected it to jump off the way it did but once you start, you’re not stopping, so why would they? We are numbers at all times who’s sole purpose in life is to increase their numbers, financially and percentage wise. We are not people in their eyes.

      • Queen@

        Le sigh. That;s the sad truth. One would hole, when your motto is do no harm, no harm would be done.

        • Rewind4ThatBehind

          Hope is a fickle thing yet sturdier than anything in life.

          Just depends on what you’re hoping for. The motto isn’t built on a premise of success since we’re talking about humans here.

          Still…the sun will rise and set daily so there’s still a chance.

    • Alessandro De Medici
      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Shame this dude stopped posting.

      • Uncle Remus

        My wife, a social worker, often talks about the ways that poor people are underserved even when they have mental health care because they have to take the cheapest medication, even when they often have the most side effects. This, of course, leads to non-compliance with the prescription and, therefore, with the treatment plan. Everybody gets paid and the client gets put under greater scrutiny and control and/or kids are removed from the home.

        I’ve had people straight up tell me that they self-medicate with alcohol and marijuana because it doesn’t make them as crazy/itchy/cranky/swollen as the medication they were prescribed. Please understand that I am not advocating for the use of either alcohol or marijuana, but there is something wrong with a system that is OK with giving people medications that were basically obviated by newer medications with fewer side effects, basically because you still have them around from an earlier batch and/or the patent has lapsed.

        • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

          I’ve often heard it said that the medication makes some people crazier than they really are

          • DocMaldo

            I used to be a pharm tech years ago and got up close and personal with not just the patients but the drug reps, etc. After we’d all get full from free lunch and pharma swag, they’d like to sit around the campfire and share trade dirt and secrets.

            The short of it is that meds are units that need to move just like any other product. So when you can convince that high performing psych doctor with paid-for junkets to the Caribbean for him and his staff to ignore ethics and common sense and prescribe ALL of his patients psychotropics, despite their level of need, this is what happens.

            And of course, it’s just par for the course for most treating MDs. When your elderly relations tell you that they don’t want to take all those “pressure pills” because they feel worse afterwards, listen to them. Typically they know what they are talking about.

      • Queen@

        To think this was more than 10 years ago and it hasn’t gotten any better. Many of my campaigns have a “healthcare provider education” task. Where we, marketers, take the data and present it to HCPs “in catching ways.” I literally work with one person to translate the science into something I can understand before having to make doctors understand.

        There is a problem here.

        With the uptick in patients, the time with docs have decreases. Electronic medical records are there to help, but now you have a doc cutting time to input data into the tablet. Also, those advances are at stake with the current administration.

        Le sigh.

    • Gibbous

      And this is why you see so many fighting against the legalization of Marijuana. They’ve found that opioid use has fallen in states where it’s legal. Look for big pharma trying to lean in on the pot business soon.

      • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

        Yeah. Medicinal marijuana is for a reason

        • Gibbous

          Just because I don’t personally imbibe, doesn’t mean I have anything against recreational marijuana either.

          • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

            I was speaking along the line that now drug companies can get a big cut out of marijuana deregulation is the way to go.

    • NonyaB?

      Whew, THIS is a word! Congrats on pulling through and above it all.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    Thing to remember is that all these opioids are manufactured by big business and sold by doctors.

    And the pain that lead to this?
    Also typically manufactured by big business. On the job injuries, financialized medicine, and lack of jobs leading to general dysfunction.

    You not gone hear that though. They complaining on MSNBC but cheering on CNBC. It’s high comedy on TV right now. Claws just got renewed for a second season.

    Be savage, profit from their pain.

  • Why does Vann Newkirk sound familiar?

    • Val

      I know of a Van Newkirk but he’s a 400m track star and Olympic Gold Medalist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayde_van_Niekerk

      • cedriclathan

        Oops, you already answered the same. Didn’t see it.

    • miss t-lee

      He writes for the Atlantic.

      • Okay. That may be it. Sounds like I know the name from the Twittah or a Podcast too.

        • miss t-lee

          He’s @fivefifths on twitter.

          • Okay. Does the Podcast with Tunde.

            • miss t-lee

              Yup.

    • cedriclathan

      There’s a Wayde van Niekerk who is the most recent 400 m world record holder.

More Like This