Monday, August 8, 2011

Our "Justice System" - Part 2

But Wait! There's More...
    I have a couple other "bones to pick" with our so called justice system and the laws we have in place in order to protect us from ourselves.

Now Listen Kids, Drugs Really ARE Bad...
First of all, I want to be clear - I fully support anti-meth laws and agree that it should be illegal.  (Although I do think the punishment for breaking such laws could maybe be reformed in some way that involves more therapy/rehab/etc as opposed to just dumping people in prison for a couple of years.)  That being said, there's no question that speed's some nasty shit, and even though it's a part of my life I know that I don't always want it to be; and I wouldn't wish it on anybody.
There are MANY fairly obvious reasons why crystal meth is horrible - here's a few:

  1.  It causes so much physical, mental, psychological and emotional damage.  
  2. It's way too easy to become addicted to
  3. It causes people to do crazy things like accidentally leave their babies in their cars (see previous post.)
  4. Some of the things used to cut meth are chemicals that most of us would worry about getting on our skin accidentally.  (Seriously, I've gotten actual chemical burns on the back of my throat/roof of my mouth before just from the drainage that dripped down after snorting a line.)
  5. Meth tears apart relationships and families.
  6. It kills your ability to enjoy life without being on it... Nothing (playing guitar, having sex, writing, drawing, painting, cleaning, playing video games, being on the computer, etc) ever seems to be that much fun anymore or seems to be as enjoyable as it was when you were high.  This is a long-term effect that although not permanent, can take years before your brain kicks back into gear and you start enjoying all the little things again.
 So, I hope it's clear that I don't really think ANYONE would benefit from crystal meth being legal.  That's because in the long run (or even in the short run) I don't think anyone really benefits from meth, period.  
Of course, that doesn't mean that I'm not going to continue using it for a while longer.  Isn't that crazy? My point exactly.  
    What I AM getting at is that I understand that most drugs are illegal for a freaking reason.  And I'm not just one of those people haphazardly rallying for the legalization of all drugs.  I know better.

The Littlest Law That Is Causing One Of The Biggest Problems-
Now, I have to mention this, since it's one of the things that I tend to get the most angry about:  


Rather than preventing IV drug users from using, the reality is that such laws ultimately contribute to the spreading of blood-borne pathogens like Hepatitis C and HIV.

The fact that many states here in the U.S. still make it illegal to purchase clean and sterile syringes - is not only ridiculous, but also inexcusable.  Such laws are examples of very poorly thought out and unfortunate legislation that ultimately do more bad than good.  Statutes that mandate syringes can't be purchased without a prescription are similar to parents who try to keep their teenage kids from learning about or accessing birth control in order to discourage them from having sex.  How often do you suppose that works?  Not often, I suspect.

The Right to "Safe Fix"
Just like teenagers today are encouraged to have "Safe Sex" I think that IV drug users should be able to "Safe Fix."  OK - technically there really is no such thing.  Shooting dope - whether coke or speed or heroin - is a risky and potentially dangerous act.  (However, in this day and age, having sex can be too.)  But IV drug users should at least have the option to minimize their risk.
    This is definitely a 'hot button' issue for me since I personally contracted Hepatitis C after  using someone else's syringe because I didn't have one of my own.  Sure, most of the time if I had to use a rig after someone else, I'd clean it out with bleach first (which in theory does work - check out the link on right side of the page.)
    But what about the occasions when I was getting high with someone in a place that wasn't a house and where we didn't have easy access to a bottle of bleach? (i.e. in a car, in a restaurant or gas station bathroom, etc)
    Well if you're someone desperate to get high (a factor that's increased even more if your fix is heroin and you have the added agony of being dope sick on top of  the typical feaning/jonesing/gotta-have-it desperation) then you're probably going to say fuck it and risk it.  I did - a couple of times.  Sure - I rinsed it out with water first if I could.  But I still wanted to get high and was willing in those weak moments to take the risk.  And I did it knowing that many of the people in my circle of friends had already been diagnosed with Hep C.
I'm lucky that Hepatitis C is all that I contracted and not something worse like HIV.  But the main reason myself and others end up in that kind of situation in the first place is because we didn't have clean needles to use; because they were/are hard to come by - period.   

Would It Have Mattered?
Could my exposure have been avoided if I'd had the option to simply walk into a pharmacy and purchase a package of new rigs anytime I wanted?
    It ABSOLUTELY could have been avoided.  I have no doubt in my mind.  
    Does that mean that I definitely would've avoided exposure to Hep C?  Not necessarily.  However, it would've been a lot less likely.  Not only would my chances of getting infected with Hep C have been lowered if I'd simply had easier access to clean needles on a more frequent basis; Everyone's would have been.  Which more than likely would've reduced the number people I knew who were already infected with Hep-C in the first place -- further reducing my own risk of exposure.  
    But it didn't.
    And I did.

    And I know that the final blame still rests with me.  The fault was no one's but my own.  I knew the risk involved but chose to do it anyway.  And now I've got to live with the consequences of my decisions.    
    As does anybody else who chose to use a needle after' I'd used it.
    And anyone who said "fuck it" and used that person's needle... and so on and so on....

WTF Is It Going To Take For This To Change?
    Why is this STILL a legal issue?  People have been using IV drugs recreationally for decades now.  So WHY hasn't this been addressed?  I think it should be fairly obvious that such statutes haven't had any impact on discouraging  actual drug use; and have actually increased the amount of risk IV drug users submit themselves to.  So there's an example of the government thinking that it knows what's best for everyone without being informed and botching up the job of trying to protect us from ourselves.

(*P.S. - Please make sure to select your answer to the poll on the right side of this page!*)

Alcohol Is Totally Fine But Keep That Evil, Crazy Pot Away From Me!! - 
Ok so I've got this one last thing to bitch about and then I'll wrap it up.  I honestly think that it's nothing short of ridiculous that our country considers pot smokers "criminals."  And this is not just personal bias speaking here, I'm not a pot smoker.  I used to be years ago, and every once in a while (like maybe once or twice a year) I take a hit or two if I'm in the mood.  But to lump people who smoke marijuana in the same category as tweakers, heroin junkies, crackheads and cokeheads just doesn't make sense.
    I don't really see any real logic in taxpayers paying thousands of dollars for "potheads" to be in prison for a year or two or three...  Seriously, what is it exactly that people are afraid of when it comes to marijuana?  God forbid someone gets stoned and eats an entire bag of Cheetos to themselves ("Oh! The horror!!")
    Meanwhile, being drunk - whether you're the life of the party or angry and violent - is perfectly legal?
    I don't know about anyone else, but I've had more than a few nights where after drinking I woke up the next day and was like "Oh God....[insert appropriate expression from below]"
     A. Why did I get so mad at [friend/significant other] for NO reason at all?
     B. Where am I and where's my ride/car keys/friends?
     C. Wait a minute, did me and so and so sleep together?
     D. Oh God - I can't believe I slept with (blank)... (did we use protection?)
     E. Whose puke is that is that?
     F. Oh no!  I can't believe I called (blank) at 3 in the morning!
     G. Wait a minute, did I DRIVE home?

(You get the idea and probably have your own) 

    All I'm  trying to point out here is that in the dysfunctional family that is "mind-altering substances," marijuana comes off looking like 'the good son' ; whereas alcohol is the troubled teen that keeps getting sent away to military camp and boarding school.  And it makes no real sense for us to continue wasting resources like tax dollars and man-hours on the fight against marijuana - when marijuana really looks like a gentle pussycat in comparison to the craziness, recklessness and hazards presented by alcohol.  This is an old argument - so I won't keep going on and on with things everyone's already heard a 1000 times before.

I'll just say this: When I was 15 this guy that I knew, Eric Moore died of alcohol poisoning after drinking too much Irish Whiskey on St. Patrick's Day.  He was 17 years old.
    I have yet to hear about someone overdosing & dying from smoking too much pot.

All right I'll wrap it up.... As always, feel free to comment.  I value other people's input and my blog is set up so that anyone - even anonymous users who wish to remain that way - can leave comments.


-PrincessAddiction1031 said...

Hey Chicka. It's your biggest fan agaim. you are so right on so many levels. What is your ourlook on "Felons and Jobs?" Tennage kids of 18 fuck up and get a felony on their record for just being a teenager. Therefore, NO JOB for them. So they cook dope, do drug deals, etc just to pay their court costs back. Do you think it's right that they can't get a job becuse of their past. Felonys stay on their records for 10 years, so by the time their 30, it might be ok for them to legally get a good job, but what about when all they know is how to cook dope and drugs? It's just something I want to hear your thoughts on.....

-Princessaddiction1031 said...

Also. Check out my blog. I wrote an article with these links in it. For anyone who reads mine to read them. It was too good not to share. Im looking forward to seeing your answer to my previous comment!!

Random Girl said...

@PrincessAddiction1031 -
Hey Princess -sorry about the delayed response. But let me tell you, I DEFINITELY feel your pain. I speak from experience when I say that it really sucks the way that convicted felons have to stand under that shadow of being a felon for what feels like it will be the rest of their lives. The worst was when I was on probation and my P.O. was always UP MY ASS about finding a job. Well, on THREE different occasions I was denied a job based on background checks. I was even denied a job at freaking KMART!! It was crazy and frustrating... I finally ended up breaking down and applying at Burger King (which I really did NOT want to do.) But ironically, when Burger King hired me, I had so much management experience that they hired me as a manager. So there I was, responsible for counting and depositing literally thousands of dollars everynight that I closed! Burger King is one of those companies that has such a high turnover rate, that they'll hire pretty much anyone without the need for something like a background check. But if they'd only known! Anyway, long story longer, I just managed to really get lucky finding jobs since I got out of prison in November. And although it's ridiculously frustrating - eventually you WILL get lucky and find that one employer who's just RIGHT for you - and who'll hire you either because they like you as a person, or because they're willing to give a person another chance..... and those are the best people to work for anyway. Good luck and hang in there!

PrincessAddiction1031 said...

Hey girl! Well, bad news to me..Thanks to my own stupidity && dumb laws. I now have hepatitis C at 18yrs old from Shooting up. It is real.... :(

Carrion Doll said...

I so freaking agree with everything you have said. But I really wanted to comment on the needle exchange problem in my area. They have completely outlawed it in Florida. You can get syringes w/out a script, last I knew. But few places will actually sell to you unless you can fool them into thinking you or someone you know is a diabetic. I personally order them off the internet through vet medical sites. They are alot cheaper for the same damned thing you can order from human medical sites.

I know this because I used to be a vet tech. When I was still working in the clinic, I would just lift a box whenever I ran out. But then I absconded from my probation and had to quit, lest I get picked up at work and taken to jail. That was a huge fuck up on my part, but anyways. For months my husband and I scoured our area looking for a place that would sell to us. Til I had my aha! moment and thought "why didn't I think of this sooner!". Within the week we had a fresh box of silicone terumo 25g/3cc syringes. Because insulin syringes are really made to pop skin and not veins. Using a proper 25g (like they use to collect blood at doc offices etc) is the proper way to inject if you possibly can get them. People think the larger needle hurts more but they are made for iv injections and blood collection so they are slightly sharper 9not too sharp) and do less damage to skin and veins with a nice clean microscopic hole.

Sonja Sutton said...

1000% agreed. You should post this on a political forum. Very well written and you know from experience two these laws truly affect users. Post this to a politician from your state, they all have Facebook accounts and you may be surprised at who agrees with you. Rooting for you:)