Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Crack – the Epidemic

Every society has its flaws. Reading Gulf News this morning I found this, not so uncommon article about a drug bust in the UAE. In UAE, we get to read about these busts, as adults we may have encountered drugs of some form at one time or another, but there really isn’t a huge problem on a social level. And I believe that law enforcement is going to continue making this a fact for a long time to come.

Last week we went to Beacon Hill Park. There, we fed ducks & geese, and watched an old man feed squirrels peanuts from his hand. It really is a beautiful park, the type of free-entry parks Dubai could use. Anyway, we sat down at a bench, just 30ft from a children’s playground where 20 odd children were playing. I lit up a cigarette, feeling somewhat guilty as in the west smoking is so frowned upon, you learn to feel guilty when little eyes can potentially see you.

A guy walks up from behind me with a cigarette in his hand, and asks to borrow my lighter. I dig through my bag and pull it out. As I hand it to him, he places his cigarette in his pocket and pulls out a crack pipe. He proceeds to smoke crack, right there, in the peak of day, right next to us complete strangers, and 30ft from the children.

Rick pretty much freaks out on the guy, which much makes him turn away. I no-longer want him to return my lighter (God knows what’s on it, Crackheads aren’t the cleanest of folk) so I tell him to keep it, just get out of there. He proceeds to walk a little down the path, and sits behind a bench. He sucks on his pipe a little while longer before starting to rummage through the grass. He’s now searching for any rocks he may have possibly lost while smoking. He spends a good 15 minutes doing this, while we contact the police.

Crack is the most addictive street drug, created by free-basing cocaine with (the most common choice) baking soda. It’s incredibly cheap, available to the public, easy to use and offers a euphoric high that will last less than five minutes. A user will no sooner be done smoking, when they’ll be craving another hit because the down is simply that unbearable compared to the high. And it’s now a real problem in British Colombia, from teens to senior citizens.

The highly addictive nature of the drug will have most people addicts after just one hit. It turns decent people into the soulless, turns friends into shells of what they used to be, and turns almost all into slaves of the pipe. Social repercussions of this increase violence, theft, and pure delinquency. Good girls literally become crack-whores, and decent men often end up homeless, mooches, and thieves, if not worse.

I read an entire book on it one day after seeing our favorite hobo, sucking the pipe down on the boardwalk. As I sat out on the balcony reading, my next door neighbor, also on her balcony asked me why I was reading a book titled Cocaine. As part of an elderly couple I thought just drank a little much, I told her the truth, I was curious because it seemed to be everywhere here. She came back and asked again, not 15 minutes later, only this time inquiring whether or not the book tells how to spot people on crack.

A conversation stuck, and she mentioned that she’d just gotten home. I asked her what they did for work, as it seemed both her and her man slept most days and worked nights. She responded by telling me, he was a taxi driver, and she was a hooker. Thinking she was joking, I laughed and told her it’s nothing to be ashamed of. She coughed and then shot back at me, ’I’m not kidding.’

She then proceeded to tell me that her cough was from ’sucking the devils cock’, and asked if that description was given in the book. She went on to talk about her being on 160mgs of some other drug simultaneously, and if she wasn’t smoking crack she was shooting it up. She said she needed help. She then decided she wanted to show me something so she ducked back into her house, for about ten minutes. When she came back there was a camera in her hand and a needle sticking out of the top of her shirt. Though I wanted to believe she just was attempting to hold or conceal it here, it honestly looked more like it was somehow braced by her chest – sticking out of her skin.

Searching through the pictures she found what she was looking for and handed it to me to take a look. There she was as she said, just six months before, a beautiful much-younger-looking woman, with an infant in her hand and a toddler on each side. As I started to look, her needle started to slip, she rushed back into her place. In the photo, she was clean, well dressed and her children were perfect examples of Gerber babies. When she got back, she proceeded to tell me that she’d lost her son six months ago, and she’s now losing herself to crack. She told me she had a college degree, was once a medical worker, and the guy she was staying with was angry at her because she wouldn’t sleep with him. She pulled up her pant leg and showed me bloody drips making their way down, from where she’d obviously stabbed herself with a needle just minutes prior, and almost in tears cried she really needed help.

Other than agree with her, that she needed help, there wasn’t much I could or can do. Crack is a growing epidemic in British Colombia. May it never become that in UAE.

Later that day by the way, the Crackwhore came back, and asked me if there was a man in the tree in front of our building. She strenuously tried to point him out to me, just above the plastic bag that had somehow made its way to a branch. There was no man. God help these people.

This isn’t the most thorough article on it, but here’s wikipedia’s information on crack: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crack_cocaine

Far more information on Cocaine & Crack Cocaine can be found here: http://www.cocaine.org/

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