They call it an opiate crisis. A war on drugs. Take it from a man who served a few tours in the opium soaked trenches, war really is hell. I still bare the scars, both mental and physical, from a decade long opioid addiction. I’ve seen families destroyed, lives ruined and lives ended. Hell, it almost ended mine.
When you envision your latter years, you think about you and your buddies spouting off “remember that time…” stories over a few cold ones. Imagine if almost everyone of your childhood friends was now an opiate death statistic. Welcome to what’s left of the 00 Buck roster, there are two of us. Our whole neighborhood gang now consists of two people. Luckily I was spared the ultimate price for my sin, twice brought back from that precipice. I’m a family man now, wife, 3 beautiful daughters. Something to live for. It wasn’t that long ago, though, that I was ripping and running for my next fix.
Out of respect for the dead I won’t say any names, just know though, I grew up around some of the funniest, talented and generous cats God ever blessed this earth with. Guys who I miss dearly. Confidantes and true friends I will never share a laugh or conversation with ever again. Some left behind fiancées, children, and they all left behind friends and families who still grieve their losses. I’m not out to sound preachy, I just want to humanize the situation to those who may only see statistics or the inhumanity of addiction. When a junkie lives and dies he leaves a wake of damage and heartbreak. He is not the only one tormented. It effects everyone he/she had ever came in contact with. Again I was lucky, a lot of families and friends and addicts are not.
There is no excuse for an addicts actions, and you may view them as subhuman. Remember though, they’ve got a mamma just like you. She has cried herself to sleep at night worrying about the inevitable. I know there isn’t a bandaid solution to this epidemic. Hell, I don’t even know if it deserves one. I do know the human cost of addiction though. I know the ripple effect of lives effected by it. I know the world has missed out on some beautiful things and beautiful people because of it. Lives painfully spent making selfish decisions instead of utilizing potential. I know that this is a war we lose even in victory. I know the real crisis, and it is the innocent bystander that pays dearly for the addicts choices. So Rest In Peace all my fallen compadres, here’s to what y’all could have been, the world might forget but I won’t. Here is a thank you too the Lord Almighty for sparing and taking pity on this poor sinner. My condolences to all those grieving the loss, mothers dreading “that” phone call, and children who will never know the good that lie beneath that grave or parent they can’t remember. To the rest of you may you live in good health and never know any of those dreadful feelings. Sláinte!!!