Are we losing the war for our children?

Opioids
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display on March 23, 2016 in Norwich, CT. 

It is always humbling to learn something new. Life is, by design, a continuous journey from the unknown to the known, from the old to the new. My most recent learning experience occurred last week, when I learned of more travesties befalling our country’s youth. We often read depressing headlines such as, “More than 100,000 individuals died of drug overdoses in one year,” but seldom do we pause to consider the people behind these statistics. 

Over the past two decades, so-called “designer drugs” have infiltrated the country from South America and China, harming and killing many of our country’s youth in droves. MDMA, ecstasy, fentanyl and other drugs provide an escape for young people from the reality of the world around them. Tragically, for far too many that escape becomes permanent.  

Something else particularly distressing is the impact that unnecessary medical procedures potentially can have on young people. Around 80 percent of knee operations performed each year may be unnecessary, for example. Apart from the long-term medical consequences of knee surgery — which can result in subsequent operations and restricted mobility — it also can result in drug addiction. Addictive medicines such as Oxycontin and Percocet are given to some patients as young as 13 years old. What if they are among those who then need more of a “fix” once they complete their doctor-prescribed doses? This can lead them to the cheaper, more powerful alternative of heroin. It’s happening throughout the nation today — and many people are dying because of drug overdoses.  

Even more so, sadness and anxiety have ensnared many young people in a vise-like grasp. “Likes” and “views” on social media have caused some of them to continuously compare themselves to morally bankrupt “influencers” who perhaps became famous by happenstance. These influencers provide a polished version of themselves, not the reality. In turn, young people yearn for their lives and looks — and may become depressed when it becomes unattainable. Drug usage falls squarely in line with this issue as well, because their inability to achieve perfection or their desire to emulate their role models’ actions may lead them down a dark path of self-destruction. 

Lethal chemicals can be readily acquired from other students and opportunistic drug dealers, particularly on college campuses. Worse, anxiety medications such as Xanax and “study medications” such as Adderall may be readily obtained from physicians. As a result, young people can develop a dangerous addiction to substances that can lead to further drug use or experimentation. The acceptance of these drugs has far-reaching effects, leading some who otherwise might not be predisposed to taking drugs to do so out of peer pressure, necessity or the expectation that the drugs’ normalization should give them safe passage to ingest them. 

Our youths’ role models do not assist, either. Rappers such as Lil Nas X and Future rap about pervasive immoral conduct and extravagant drug usage. To millions of shouting fans, youth anthems such as Future’s “Mask Off” repeat the mantra “Percocet, molly, Percocet.” Are these rappers unaware that they are promoting the normalization of harmful narcotics among innocent young people? On the other hand, Lil Nas X raps about having sexual relations with Satan, even posting a violent music video about it. While rappers are certainly within their rights to espouse these dangerous ideals, it goes without saying that one ought not to light a cigarette in a child’s mouth.  

What we are seeing in our country is nothing short of a moral decline of epic proportions. We are dying, morally and physically. Much is made of COVID-19 fatalities — and rightly so — but with all the attention that the virus receives, shouldn’t we be concentrating just as much, if not more, on the number of young people dying from drug overdoses in our country? Why do the mainstream media seem to be unconcerned with the overdose epidemic? Apart from an occasional headline, few devote much effort to this subject. The silence is deafening, and the carelessness is deadly. 

Regrettably, the Biden administration may be fostering increased drug distribution and usage in the nation through the president’s policies and activities. So many drugs enter the nation through the southern border, which President Biden largely has opened for free access by migrants. Our government’s ignorance — or ignoring — of a critical problem affecting our population shows a clear dereliction of duties; they have voluntarily allowed U.S. citizens, those they have sworn to protect, to die at the hands of drugs while simultaneously giving all the help they can to those who may have little legal justification for coming to our country. 

Voters elected Biden to safeguard our nation, and now there is a battle being waged against our children that we appear to be losing miserably. It is time to act in this regard, Mr. President. 

Armstrong Williams (@ARightSide) is the owner and manager of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the Year. He is the author of “Reawakening Virtues.”

Tags Addiction Drug culture Drug overdose Joe Biden Opioid epidemic

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