Charles Blow wrote a column in today’s New York Times about “Cocaine and White Teens”.
In his article he writes about a government-sponsored study by the University of Michigan. It reported a decline in drug use by young people. Mr. Blow writes:
"But, one important metric that wasn’t mentioned, and that stubbornly resisted the downturn, was the use of cocaine.
According to data from the group that produced the report, the percentage of both black and white 12th graders who confessed to using cocaine in the past 30 days has essentially stayed flat since 2001. The major difference is that white usage outweighs black usage 4 to 1. (If you take a longer view back to 1991, when cocaine usage bottomed out following the outrageous ’80s, usage among white 12th graders since then has nearly doubled, while usage among black 12th graders has fallen a bit.)"
Curtis Self Sr. of East Fallowfield was sentenced to 17 to 34 years in prison for five counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine. He was selling what we call “white drugs”. He lived in East Fallowfield and sold in Coatesville and Caln. I think the people in suburban Chester County need to wake up and understand that the drug dealers in Coatesville can be selling poison to their children.
More policing does help.
“One Coatesville resident put it this way “They don’t like to see police. It’s that simple. It makes it difficult to buy. It makes it difficult to sell … And that’s discouraging.” Daily Local News Coatesville residents Help DA rid the city of crime-Thursday, January 8, 2009 6:56 AM EST
I have seen how drugs can ruin the lives of young white men and women in a white suburban area who had everything going for them; top high school athletes, an affluent lifestyle, good academics, plenty of money for the best collages, new cars… One of them is now doing a 20 year sentence.
Policing the streets is a part of it; policing home life is another part.
Mr. Blow brings up something else at the end of his column.
“But, in a phone interview, David Murray, chief scientist in the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, insisted that there was good news: a sharp rise in the price of cocaine and a drop in its purity since 2006, among other things, have cut into overall usage.
So, I thought, until policy makers put more of a focus on this issue and figure out how to reach these students, should we just hope that teens are too broke for this weak coke? I don’t think so. We need a real strategy, right now.”
We are treating the drug dealers and users as criminals. Much of the time they are both. But some of the top drug entrepreneurs never tried their “product”.
Before Prohibition, gangs in the United States were local. Prohibition was the opportunity for some of those local gangs to grow into what we now know as organized crime, or the Mafia. When Prohibition ended the infrastructure was in place and drugs replaced alcohol as the profit maker. Illegal drugs are now an incredibly profitable international business.
They used aircraft, we put AWACS aircraft in the Caribbean to track them, they used cigarette boats in bunches of three that look like one on radar. The Colombians drug dealers even bought their very own Russian submarine. The profit margin is just too great in illegal drugs. If a big shipment is stopped, the price and the profit margin go up. Since the “war on drugs” began the illegal drugs industry has had exponential growth.
It ain’t working. We need to try something different.
In whatever country in whatever part of the world where the crop is grown that drugs are derived from, the finial destination is nearly always right here in the USA. The USA is by far the biggest market for illegal drugs in the world. If we stopped using them here the economies of many countries would completely collapse.
The real problem is not the drug sellers; the real problem is that we love how drugs make us feel here in the USA. The answer to the world wide illegal murderous drug business and the terror and suffering that goes with it is right here among us United States citizens.
Someone on TV said that the mortgage derivative traders, by just making money triggered a chemical response in their brains much like cocaine. But they were not getting high on just money. We know that some of those same traders were using the real thing too. Maybe the pressures of our free enterprise system need some kind of relief.
Maybe it’s that we are far removed from nature. Most of us rarely feel the soothing effect of just watching a creek or river flow by. But even some societies that we call “stone age” and live in completely natural surroundings use some sort of drugs.
Humans and all living things are chemical factories. Drugs or chemicals that our own bodies manufacture or that we eat or breathe regulate every part of our bodies. Maybe it is a medical answer; maybe it is a societal answer or something completely new. Maybe the medical and social things we tried were just not enough.
Until we can solve our own almost uniquely American love of drugs; I think that good police work in Coatesville may be the best thing we have going for us right now in Chester County.
Charles M. blow’s column is at: