Drug Problems In Rural Areas

Drug addiction is a problem that spans race, sex, income and color.  No family or community is immune.  While drugs are taking a toll in urban areas, they are also wrecking havoc in rural communities.  Where a city may have hundreds of thousands of people, rural areas may have communities of just a few hundred people.  When someone in a large city dies, a very small percentage of the people are affected.  When someone in a rural community dies, a large percentage of the community is affected.

Every life is precious, and everyone deserves a life free from addiction, but life does not always go that way.  Some makes a decision to try a drug, and from that point forward that soul is lost to addiction.

The simple solution is to never do drugs.  The not so simple solution is not convince people never to try drugs in the first place.  Just because illegal drugs are easily accessible does not mean someone has to try them.

When you talk to rural dwellers and ask them about drug abuse, the answer is usually something along the lines of, “There is nothing to do around here, so people turn to drugs.”  Which is a line of bull.  Life in a rural area can be very boring.  There are usually no malls, no movie theaters and no bowling alleys.  What we do have is land, and we are supposed to have a sense of community and family values.  Bored?  Go fishing, hiking, camping, or just for a walk.

Where was the drug problems in previous generations?  There were drinking problems, but was drinking a problem like drugs are today?

I suspect what changed were morals, values and a love for family.  There was once a time when kids were taught to stay away from drugs.  Just one time is enough to get someone hooked.  Are kids no longer taught those life lessons?  Are the ones who were taught forget, or just ignore the lessons?

Something that makes humans different from other animals is our ability to observe and learn.  We see someone get ran over while playing on the highway, we learn from that observation and do not play in the highway.  This was probably left over from our ancestors trying to pet the saber tooth tiger that looked like a nice kitty.  We all can figure out after trying to pet the kitty, the guy was lunch for said kitty.

What makes drug use that much different from playing in the highway, or petting a tiger?  Maybe the people think they can control the drugs, when it is just the opposite.  The drugs eventually drives the person insane.  What is one definition for insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  So how can drug users do the same thing over and over and expect their lives to improve?

When victims succumb to their addiction, ripples spread through the community.  In rural areas it seems just about everyone knows each other.  You may not know the persons name, but you see them at the local corner store all the time.  Members of the community may of gone to school with the victims family members, or know someone who is related.  This is in sharp contrast to cities where hardly anyone knows each other.

Maybe the lack of economic opportunity invites people to sell drugs?  The lure of easy money being too easy to pass up.  Then again, I have letters from my great grandmother.  The letters were written during the Great Depression by my great grandfather while he was looking for work.  He traveled and went where the jobs were at.  So the lack of jobs is no excuse.  If someone can not find a job, adapt or relocate.

Maybe it is a character defect that drives some people to self-destruct?  The same kind of character defect that drives people to drink and drive, use drugs, cheat, lie, steal, wreck a great marriage… etc.  Some people are not happy unless they are wallering in misery, like a pig in mud.  This is the same type of person who complain whether life is great or terrible.  Their need to find misery knowing no limits.

We can talk about staying away from drugs all we want.  But until the community as a whole makes a decision to reject addiction, nothing is going to change.  When dealers can not find a market, they will move on.  The thing that drives drugs is providing a market.  This is simple supply and demand economics.  No demand means no supply.

On a personal note, I wish I understood why someone would want to throw their lives away for drugs.  It is like putting a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger.  The death may not be instant, but it will happen eventually. Eventually the drugs will consume the persons life, and the lives of those around them.  Families will be devastated, mothers will lose children and husbands, husbands lose wives and children.

Where does the madness end?