I googled two drugs this morning followed by “crisis.” One drug was crack and the other was heroin. There was something interesting that I noticed. Heroin was paired with crisis more frequently than crack. One of the first and only instances that I saw “crack crisis” was directly related to “Black America.” I’ve read several articles and interviews regarding the Heroin crisis. It seems that the crisis is affecting people of all ages. I’ve seen responses from professionals in an array of fields including the paramedics, law enforcement, and social services. Some states have declared the crisis as a state of emergency, providing funds to aid for treatment. Police officers have been said to guide those who overdose or are caught with paraphernalia to treatment centers as a diversion to arrests.
I’m reading the testimonies of families who were grieved to learn that their loved ones died from overdosing. There have been appeals to government officials and other authority entities to request treatment opposed to incarceration or other punitive actions. Drug addiction is an uphill battle that has taken numerous lives. I empathize with families who have watched their loved ones’ lives diminish before their eyes. However, I can’t shake the question: Where’s the war on drugs? Mandatory sentencing? The intentional negative connotations of Heroin use? There are none. The dominant culture, or as some call it “silent majority” is feeling the same shockwaves as those from the crack epidemic and all of a sudden society becomes wordsmiths while touching on addiction. We’ve seen it several times: refugees versus looters, riots versus protests, now epidemic versus crisis.
“Black America” has been handed duds since there was a so-called black America. There are still grandparents raising children of parents addicted to crack. There are still family members grieving the loss of their loved ones to crack. There are children in foster care as a direct link to the crack devastation. In fact, there are still prisoners incarcerated from the selling and distribution of crack. While there is treatment for this new crisis what will become of manufacturers and/or distributors of the drugs? What policies will be implemented to tackle this issue head on? And then there’s my most pressing question: where does “Black America” fall in all of this?