Author: Justin Mckibben
The ‘War on Drugs’ is not something that anyone would say should be taken lightly. It is true that addiction to drugs and alcohol is a dangerous disease, and it is true that it has affected the lives of so many people across the world, but drug fear mongering is dangerous as well.
All of these tactics prove ineffective because they ignore the basic realities of the circumstances they seek to overcome. That includes the fact that addiction is a disease, and that these witch-hunts for addicts as criminals or degenerates push people away from getting the help they need. Here are 3 reasons drug fear mongering is dangerous, and to prove the point we will look at details from specific examples.
- Drug fear mongering can actually (ironically) promote drug use
-Example: D.A.R.E. Program
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) is a very popular program that was created to combat drug and alcohol addiction by trying to educate kids at a young age. Although D.A.R.E. was designed with the best intentions it is completely ineffective and sometimes even counterproductive. That conclusion was actually reached by the congressional General Accounting Office (GAO), the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Education. Because of the D.A.R.E. programs inability to actually effectively address addiction, the federal government now prohibits schools from spending their Safe and Drug Free Schools funding on D.A.R.E.
The irony of the situation is that based on the fact that after being presented with the concept of D.A.R.E. to keep an eye out for those around you using drugs or drinking, the vast majority of young people greatly exaggerate in their minds the quantity and frequency of drinking among their peers. Therefore, they tend to drink (or drink more) than they would otherwise, in an effort to “fit in.”
So because of the style of awareness D.A.R.E. tried to promote was fueled with paranoia, it actually made things worse by planting the idea to use drug into the minds of children because they believed everyone was doing it.
- Drug fear mongering creates false information and panic
-Example: 80’s Crack Baby Scare
Drug fear mongering also tends to take a ‘boogie-man’ approach to addressing the issue of drugs and alcohol. One of the worst parts of fear mongering is that quite often there is false information that is adopted as fact because the media hopes to use it as a powerful tool to draw a lot of attention to an issue by making it seem more urgent and magnifying the horrors of addiction.
Over the decades of the twentieth century, drug use has gone through cycles of intense public awareness and concern and relative indifference. For some of these decades reformers, the public, the media, or legislators focus on a specific drug which stands in for or represents the drug problem generally. The late 1980s witnessed a drug “panic,” “crisis,” or “scare” specific to cocaine, or more specifically crack cocaine. Drug use generally came to be seen as the social problem of the decade and emerged into the forefront like never before. This was strange because drug use had been on the rise for several years by the time it caught media attention in 1985, yet people were rushed into fear as if it fell out of nowhere.
Widespread use of crack cocaine during the 80’s led to the “Crack Baby” scare, when babies born to crack cocaine users sometimes had symptoms including but not limited to jitteriness and smaller heads. Studies at the time blamed prenatal drug use, and experts suggested that the affected children had irreversible brain damage and predicted dire futures for them. These reports led to widespread media coverage featuring breathless headlines and heart-rending images of tiny sick newborns hooked up to hospital machines.
In recent years experts have mostly discounted any link, noting that so-called crack babies often were born prematurely, which could account for many of their early symptoms. Studies that tracked children beyond infancy have failed to find any severe outcomes. Crack-exposed teens had lower scores on developmental tests than other children but their scores were still within normal limits, so the panic that was induced by the media was quite baseless information that was used to fan the flames of the war on drugs with fear in the 1980’s.
- Drug fear mongering promotes prisons and not proper treatment for addiction
-Example: Heroin Epidemic
In comparison to the 1980’s ‘Crack Baby’ Panic, America is currently experiencing what the media is announcing as a ‘Heroin Epidemic’ that is sweeping the nation. It is true that recently the numbers of heroin addicts recorded has increased, and the use of heroin has spread, however the real question is why it has suddenly become an ‘epidemic’.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that America had 373,000 users in 2007 and 669,000 in 2012. The increase is largely attributed to heroin being much cheaper than prescription opiates, which have become increasingly expensive due to reforms combating prescription pill addiction.
That being said, by fear mongering the drug use in this situation, we are only putting the real problem behind us, which is that the country has ineffective incarceration policies for the individuals who are arrested in possession, while actually treating drug addiction as a disease is being largely swept under the rug. Or at least it has up to this point. This kind of publicity controlled through propaganda only prohibits people from seeking help, and it makes some addicts believe they must fit into a certain stigma in order to need treatment.
By putting the fear into the American people about the use of heroin and other opiates, it may be creating healthy fear for those who are not yet using, but that is a small victory compared to the thousands of addicts out there who become terrified of getting honest about their opiate addiction and seeking treatment for their addiction.
The devastation and the evils of the disease of addiction are all very real and a lot of the truth is scary without the scare tactics. Fear mongering is counter-productive to keeping people informed and helping them equip themselves with the means to recover from their addictions. The sad part is that instead of making people afraid to use drugs, fear mongering makes more addicts and alcoholics afraid to seek help. How can you save your life when you’re scared to death? If you or someone you love is struggling from substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
It takes a special kind of crazy to change the world of comedy the way that Robin Williams did in his career. His talents went beyond that, with inspirational performances in emotionally charged dramas such as Good Will Hunting or What Dreams May Come delivering graceful wisdom, and even chilled us to the core in thrillers such as One Hour Photo or Insomnia where he stepped outside the genres he was typically found in to terrify us. As one of the most diverse and down-right outrageous actors of our time, he struggled with his own personal demons of addiction, and even though his death has shocked the world, his life inspires us for the ages. Here are just a few of our favorite moments with the hero and comedic legend Robin Williams.
He taught us to stay current…
…or at least to do our best to keep up…
He reminded us the importance of getting chores done, and showed us how to do it with a smile on our face…
…and who DOESN’T know the words.. “Dude looks like a lady…”
We learned the importance of politics…
…and how to be kind to our neighbors.
Robin Williams showed us safety first…
…or maybe this is just too funny NOT to watch!
He tried to show us not to take technology…
…or our jobs…
…or ourselves too seriously!
He taught us to love animals like we do each other…
…and had a passion for laughter that could tickle anyone!
He even gave us ways to laugh through the pain…
…and he reminded us that home and family is where the heart is.
Robin Williams made us unafraid to ask the tough questions…
…or the silly ones…
…because he knew that the answers could change the world.
Robin Williams showed us that our little quirks were not imperfections…
…because we get to choose who sees them, and who we share ourselves with and no matter what happens, there is always something good going on, if we are willing to see it.
Robin Williams reminded us of the beautiful things in life, and that the love those things inspire in all of us are the things we live for…
…and with his love, his passion, and his undeniable laughter…
…Robin Williams taught us all how to fly, and he put magic in our hearts with the magic of his life.
Words are hard to find to express the loss of Robin Williams. From Mork & Mindy, to Dead Poets Society, to Night at the Museum, the life and talent of Robin Williams has captivated and explored all walks of life, and has tugged on our heart-strings in so many ways over the decades. His loving family helped him through his highlights and pit-falls throughout his battle with addiction, and his struggles in recovery, and my prayers go out to them in this time of mourning. Robin Williams was a hero in so many ways, and much will be said and speculated in the near future about the tragic circumstances leading to his death. At age 63 he leaves behind a loving following and a legacy that has impacted countless actors, comedians, artists, children and just about any human being that was blessed to enjoy even one of his many incredible moments. I find myself with not enough good to say about the impact he has had on me, and I can closely relate to the thought of suicide in the face of deep and dark depression. So I guess I’ll end with one thing he said that sticks to me when thinking of recovery, and how the last thing we should do when life hurts us is give up.
“What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong.”
July 21 1951- August 11, 2014
Substance abuse and addiction threaten the lives of countless people every day, and it can take us to some of the darkest places in our lives. Sadly, not everyone who suffers survives the disease of addiction. There is help out there, and recovery is absolutely possible, but it takes action. Every day men and women die from substance abuse, addiction, and the mental battles that coexist with this self-inflicted and self-destructive life-style. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please don’t wait until it’s too late. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Guess what time it is… NO, but close… It’s Crazy News Stories of the Week time! So sit back, relax, and prepared to be glad you’re not one of these people!
Flaming Lambo’ Fiasco
The Flaming Lamborghini is a novelty drink made popular for its unique style of delivery and consumption. It consists of the alcoholic beverages Sambuca and Kahlua, which gets set on fire and is meant to drink through a straw, and is then doused with Baileys and blue curacao and finished off by the customer.
A bartender in Lithuania was performing the intricate task of setting up a flaming Lamborghini and accidentally set a customer’s face on fire while making a drink, and the gruesome moment was captured on the bars surveillance video. Several English-language outlets have since picked up the video, though none has offered an update on the man’s condition.
The incident took place at Naktinis Tbilisis club in Panevezys on July 11th. In the video, the bartender can be seen preparing the infamous and apparently dangerous Flaming Lamborghini when a flame shoots out at the man during the lighting, who suddenly catches fire. Other patrons appear to put out the fire out by smothering the man’s head with their hands.
The victim’s sister said in the reports given to local press that the bar owner and the bartender did go out of their way to visit her brother in the hospital. While the man’s specific injuries were not described in detail in the press, it was noted that he was taken into surgery following the incident.
Raging Run-Down Drunk
Gainsville, Florida is home to this drunken road rage driver Joseph H Carl who allegedly confronted a woman motorist, and subsequently was run over by his own truck when she fled. Carl, age 48, drove his pickup into the rear of another vehicle at traffic light, then got out to engage in a heated arguement with the other driver, banging on her car window and yelling at her.
The terrified woman drove off leaving Carl standing in front of his Dodge 1500 truck, and the Dodge began rolling towards him. Joseph H Carl apparently tried to stop the truck but with his arms, but the vehicle was still in gear and ran over him as reported by police officials. He was treated in hospital for fractures to his hand and foot.
Carl was arrested on charges of drunk driving and property damages. The motorist refused to submit to a breath test but a blood-alcohol test carried out later in hospital showed he was nearly three-times over the drink drive limit. Police stated Carl was seen stumbling around and reeking of booze before the incident. Officers found an open can of beer, still cold, and numerous empty beer cans in his truck. Hopefully he realizes that he’s lucky his drunk driving only injured one person, and it’s only ironic that it was himself.
Walgreen’s Alcoholic Shopper
Sometimes the customer isn’t always right, in this case the customer ended up causing a scene that will most likely earn him a extended stay in jail. A 54-year-old Ocala named Joby Sullivan got extremely upset that a Walgreen’s did not sell alcoholic beverages, and ended up to be arrested later after causing a disturbance.
According to an Ocala Police Department report, Sullivan cursed at the Walgreen’s employees threatening to fight them. Employees stated that Sullivan had been digging through the garbage when an employee caught him in the act and told him to leave the property. Apparently Sullivan then walked into the store, telling employees he wanted to buy some alcohol. The employees informed him that the store did not sell alcoholic beverages and the man began throwing his fit.
Police officer Jared Forsyth went to the store at 807 E. Silver Springs Boulevard in Ocala after a report of an intoxicated man causing a disturbance and refusing to leave the property. Officer Forsyth found the man upon arriving at the scene standing outside the front of the store on the sidewalk, screaming and swinging his shirt at a Walgreens employee. The officer approached Sullivan from behind and arrested him. Sullivan then threatened the officer and a supervisor who showed up at the scene.
The police report states as Joby Sullivan was being detained and placed in a patrol car, he kicked arresting officer Forsyth in the stomach. He was then taken into custody without any more problems and taken to the Marion County Jail. Sullivan was ultimately charged with disorderly intoxication, battery on a law enforcement official and resisting arrest without violence for his kick to the stomach.
$3.00 Binge Gone Bad
A 49-year-old man in Crestview and his 51-year-old wife have recently been accused of putting miniature bottles of alcoholic beverages in their pockets in front of the store manager before walking out of a local Cash’s Corner Pocket.
The Cash’s Corner Pocket store manager said Craig Van Aken and his wife, Lisa Davis, were in establishment on January 2nd, and she had asked them if she could get them anything. The manager said she saw the two looking at the loose mini bottles of liquor, which are $1.50 each, and then saw Mr. Van Aken slipping two of the bottles into his pocket. The store manager claimed she knew the couple because they frequently visited the location, and that she witnessed Van Aken stealing the bottles and give one to Davis. The two immediately left when the manager started to question them about the bottles.
After the store manager was able to identify both Craig Van Aken and his wife Lisa Davis from photo line-ups the two were arrested on June 25. Their next scheduled court date is July 22. It seems crime truly doesn’t pay for these two, especially if the cost of some jail time is only $3.00.
People dealing with drugs and alcohol issues often end up on the wrong end of some crazy news stories, luckily in sobriety people are able to look back at these kinds of behavior and be grateful that these kinds of stories have been left in the past, and the future looks a lot better without the chaos of actively abusing drugs or alcohol. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
While there are plenty of shows available to watch that pertain to the production, sale, and use of illegal drugs in our society, there are some that stand out to set examples of situations and circumstances, and give a detailed perspective on the lives damaged and the battles waged over drugs. Netflix has a reasonable selection of shows specifically based on the subject, but these are definitely some of the best shows about drugs on Netflix, for a number of reasons.
Best Shows about Drugs on Nextflix: Reality TV
(2012) 3.8 Stars Rated: TV-14
Drugs Inc. is one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix because it actually takes an indepth look at a variety of narcotics from the perspective of users, dealers, law enforcement officials, and other experts. The 2 seasons available on Netflix takes a look at the production, export, sale, and consumption of the illicit drug trade in a documentary style series. So far the show has included exploring:
- Pill Nation
- Designer Drugs
- Grand Theft Auto
(2011) 3 Stars Rated: TV-14
Weed Wars is centered on the Nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, California, and features some of the biggest names in the industry of Medicinal Cannabis. The first season opens up with a look at the family business, and how the owner Steve DeAngelo has dedicated his life to the development of the industry.
It has become one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix by showing how the changes in the medical marijuana policies had effected those in support of the healing power and culture of cannabis in the Oakland area.
Extreme Drug Smuggling
(2011) 3.6 Stars Rated: TV-14
This series is one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix because it follows the efforts of law enforcement officials across the borders of America as they investigate and combat the evolving tactics used by cartels to smuggle narcotics into the country. These illegal enterprises are constantly adapting their methods, and so law enforcement must change their own strategies to keep up with the cartels as they try to expand their markets.
(2010) 3.6 Stars Rated: TV-14
As one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix goes, Addicted is one reality series that take a deeper and more personal look at the lives and rehabilitation of drug addicts.
This is an American reality television series that follows the lives of individuals who are struggling with addiction as they work with interventionist Kristina Wandzilak. The series originally premiered on the TLC network on March 17, 2010. Addicted returned with a second season on August 28, 2012 on the TV network Discovery Fit & Health, and has also aired on TLC.
On Netflix there a 6 available episodes featuring the stories of several different people who are fighting a few different addictions, and with the detailed views from family members, as well as intensive looks at the afflicted in active addiction, this series has earned a spot as one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix.
Best Shows about Drugs on Netflix: Television Drama
(2005-2012) 4 Stars Rated: TV-MA
Weeds is a very popular television drama series that has followed a suburban mother whose husband suffers a sudden and untimely death, and she finds herself struggling to maintain the lifestyle afforded to herself and her family. Ultimately this chain of unfortunate events leads her to start selling marijuana to her affluent neighbors in order to keep up, and this only brings more misfortune and scandals. This series also shows that the stigma of the ‘drug dealer’ can no longer be limited to the poor and urban communities.
The show is probably one of the best shows about drugs on Netflix based on its healthy mix of comedy and drama, while driving home some lessons along the way.
(2008-2012) 5 Stars Rated: TV-MA
The dynamic, thrilling, and emotionally charged story of Walter White (AKA) Heisenberg has definitely earned its spot as one of the highest rated shows on television, and as in this authors opinion THE best of the best shows about drugs on Netflix(in regards to a fictional drama).
For those of you who have never heard of this show, where have you been and how long have you been sleeping? The series follows a high school chemistry teacher Walter White who is informed that he is dying of cancer. In desperation to leave his growing family with more than a bill for his funeral, he ventures to build a fortune by teaming up with a former student to manufacture and distribute crystal meth.
Breaking Bad does an incredible job of not doing much to glorify the lifestyle, and actually articulates how much damage and horror can come from drug dealing, drug addiction, and the violence surrounding the smuggling trade. Characters are depicted painfully real in this show that displays the rise and fall of a drug empire, and the devastation caused to the lives of all that it touches.
There is a great deal people can learn about the severity of the growing problems with drugs and our culture. With views from all sides of the conflict on drug laws and the war on drugs in society today, and with some dramatic character depictions of fiction based plots centered in the underground drug market, people can see how the problem reaches from law enforcement and politics to the home front and the lives and families afflicted in the struggles of addiction. While there is some entertainment in these, one should be able to see how deadly serious the issue is. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Television and the media are all about dramatization. It is the Medias job to do everything possible to take any situation and make it intense or entertaining in some way to draw the audience into each scene. The stand-point of most 12 Step Groups is typically attraction rather than promotion, and they do everything possible to maintain anonymity in press, radio and films. However there are many films and television shows that elude to ‘support groups’ for various addictions or behavioral issues.
These portrayals may often be entertaining, but can also be extremely misleading to those unfamiliar with 12 Step groups. Listed are the 6 most ridiculous portrayals of 12 Step Groups on TV, including films, and the reasons why they are so far from the real deal.
Family Guy- “Friends of Peter G”
The episode follows Peter and Brian as they are forced to join a 12 Step Group, due to their excessive drinking. Peter and Brian hear testimony from group members that are sad stories of tragedies caused by alcohol, and that the people in the group have nowhere to drink without being judged. The problem with this is that 12 Step meetings are NOT just a place for alcoholics and addicts to hide from judgment, and the purpose is to share experience, strength and, hope- not tragedy.
This comedy starring Dave Chappelle, Harland Williams and Tommy Chong is all about a few guys who smoke way too much weed. In one scene Dave Chappelle attends a 12 Step Meeting, and is booed off stage by the crowd when he admits he is addicted to marijuana. I cannot say I’ve ever seen a 12 Step meeting where anyone has been yelled at and rejected for their drug of choice, or where people openly compare addictions and tell someone theirs is less of an illness.
In seasons 3 and 4 of Breaking Bad (one of the most celebrated drug related dramas) one main character Jesse Pinkman attends rehab and 12 Step meetings. These meetings are always depicted in dark rooms, the characters all sit in a circle and tell dark and depressing stories, and there is a facilitator. Not very much solution is ever offered, and Jesse spreads as much disease as possible- not very spiritual, but you cannot expect much from a Meth cook. Real meetings have no facilitator, and don’t consist of back and forth arguments between two people.
House of Cards
A political drama starring Kevin Spacey takes an opportunity to touch on recovery and the character of Doug, who 14 years in recovery, exploits a newcomer for political advantages as his less than accountable sponsor. In reality, a 12Step sponsor probably won’t use your amends and character defects against you.
In this thrilling TV series about a vigilante serial killer, the main man Dexter happens upon 12 Step meetings to try and curve his addiction to killing. He takes a female sponsor, who consistently lies and manipulates him and others around them, while the two of them frequently indulge in sexual activity. This is an absolute misrepresentation of the sponsorship relationship and the 12 Step program. Dexter does however, give a great speech about the “Dark Passenger” that is relatable and powerful.
South Park- “Bloody Mary”
This is a show that takes pride in poking fun at… well, everything! So it is no surprise that they dedicated time to dramatizing 12 Step Groups to the extreme. The character Randy Marsh attends a meeting where he is called to stand in front of the group, and the entire meeting is dedicated to convincing him he is an alcoholic. Also, the meeting has characters who constantly emphasize how they are powerless, over everything including themselves, and that the only thing they have is the fellowship. No 12 Step meeting would dedicate so much time to diagnosing one man. Then Randy is obsessed with religion and avoids his friends and all situations regarding alcohol. This episode clearly promotes the stigma of 12 Step fellowships as cults of cowards, not men or spiritual and domestic growth.
Now please do not get me wrong, I love Randy Marsh and the South Park crew, Breaking Bad is a great drama, and Family Guy is a good show! But these are probably some of the most ridiculous versions of 12 Step Programs that television paints, creating a false picture of what recovery in a 12 Step meeting is like. You want to know more about the real deal? You probably shouldn’t trust the information your getting from your TV and find some real recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135