A few years ago, Max helped me write a poem:
DOPE TO THE CUT
Dealers too have mouths
& hungry, hungry arms;
must we begrudge these impacted men
their modicum of profit?
And there is honor among thieves –
my buddy Moses could move meth
only by loathing meth-heads –
nobody’s hurt by laxative-
laced white lady,
and why not a trace
of fentanyl in the H?
Both wash pain.
A dealer’s gotta eat.
But now the cartels start with the cut,
disguise it with dope
& wonder why
I wanted to share this along with a recommendation that you read this heartbreaking story from The Washington Post. Right now, our nation has begun reckoning with the fact that people who are addicted to drugs are sick and need help. Incarceration isn’t curing them. Sympathetic articles profile working class white people who are trapped in a spiral of despair.
But deaths have skyrocketed among another population, a group of people that most major news outlets have blithely ignored. Older black users – who were anonymously demonized from the beginning – are being killed when dangerous synthetic chemicals are disguised as the same heroin that they’ve safely used for decades.
People who aren’t in severe pain shouldn’t use opiates. These drugs sap away life. Over time, they make pain worse, because opiates make long-term users much more susceptible to discomfort and stress.
But our laws against these drugs are making opiates lethal. If we want people not to use certain chemicals, our best bet is to provide accurate information. Banning drugs hasn’t helped: patients seeking legitimate verified doses have a harder time getting their medicines, but opiates are easy to come by on the streets. We’ve only succeeded in making them edgy, transgressive, and deadly.