Saturday, February 17, 2007

"Drugs? What drugs? Nobody here but us chickens."

Matt G. wrote a brief blog about fearing all the world being on drugs. That is a right write. There must be some folks who aren't imbibing for the problem to be so invisible. Either that or society in general has become dysfunctional enough to walk automatically around the elephant in the living room. A little of both, I suspect.

Almost two years ago, I retired from Child Protective Services. Over the years, I worked with mean folks, ignorant folks, folks with personality disorders. Yes, I'm weird. I liked most of them. I wasn't an investigator, although I did some of that. My job was to work several months with the families to make the home healthier and safer for the kids. The last two-three years, all I had was drug parents, mostly on meth. If I had wanted to be a drug counselor, I would have trained that way, but that's what I was doing. Meth, meth, meth. coke. meth. heroin. meth, meth, meth. Wore me down. Most common reason to lose your kid in my county? Have it born drug-exposed. We have so dad-gummed many affected newborns we ran out of homes to take them.

So, I have my retirement party. I walk out the door. Magically, all the drugs have disappeared. Nothing much on the news. No one talking about it in the schools. No need for more drug rehab programs. Plenty of resources. Just Say No. I hear opinions that parents aren't doing their jobs because they are couch potatoes, or they are guilty about youthful indiscretions, or just not strong enough. All may be true, but I KNOW a fair number of these parents aren't doing much for their kids because they are in the bathroom sniffing or smoking or shooting. They are functional. They still get to work most every day, and meth is great when you've got a lot of cleaning to do in a short time. And they are legion. Endemic. They are everywhere.

One mother insisted I should stay out of her life because she said she was a fine mother. Her house was clean (enough). She cooked. She filled out the paperwork for free school lunches (yes, that is a level of functioning I didn't always find.) Her children behaved well in school. Their grades weren't great, but hey, hers hadn't been, either.

"What about when you are high?" I asked her, having a pretty good idea she spent several hours a day on one substance or another.

She smiled. "I wouldn't know. I'm not there then."

There was a news story a couple of months back about a drug-dealing couple who actually were having their kids perform home chores, laundry, etc. The youngest kid was 9. They were each given a doobie to smoke as a reward for getting their chores done every week. Police busted the couple for dealing, started talking to the kids, and called in child services.

I don't know how many kids in Texas are "homeschooled" by meth addicts who don't want to get up early, but I remember one kid whose dad kept getting caught neglecting the kid and not enrolling him in school. Dad was one of the motel people. As soon as the police and CPS were out of sight, he would just fade away to another place, sometimes in another state. The kid was really pudgy. All he was given to eat was fast food and junk snacks. All he did was sit on the couch and watch porn with his dad. He really wanted to go to school, but when he should have been starting fifth grade, he had attended maybe three weeks in his life. Well, dad finally got busted and went to jail. The kid got into the foster care system and got to go to school. He turned out to be really bright, and once he got a chance to play (dad hadn't let him go outside much), he skinnied right down. Father and son had probably smoked a little pot together, but thankfully no meth. Disclaimer: This in no way an attack on homeschooled children, many of whom are the best scholars today in our colleges and universities. Texas does not require any licensing or proof of schooling, however. For irresponsible parents, bringing up illiterate children is remarkably easy.

Easy-peasy, as someone I know would say.


Matt G said...

You're making it hard to defend the right to do the dope thing.

I don't have a problem with people killing themselves. It's when they hurt the kids that the waters get so muddled.

But what do you know? You were just one of the Nanny Government's Jack-Booted Thugs who comes to take children from hard-working, Gawd-fearing parents who ain't done nuthin' wrong, really.

Home wrecker!

HollyB said...

Nobody minds paying for punishment... which accomplishes nothing for drug users, but sure makes citizens feel good.
Everybody minds paying for treatment for drug users because recividism is so rampant.
SO, the solution: legalize and regulate drugs like marijuana. Tax it like alcohol and tobacco and use that money to fund education programs to prevent drug abuse.
Put more money into ADOLESCENT Mental Health. That's where drug use starts, in a large percent of the cases I saw in Parole. It's a start, IMHO.

HollyB said...

OH, and Welcome to the wonderful world of Blogging. Ain't it grand?

Matt G said...

"SO, the solution: legalize and regulate drugs like marijuana."
But meth isn't a drug like marijuana.

Heroin isn't either.

Crack sure ain't, neither.

Sure. By all means, legalize and tax marijuana. But what of meth/crack/heroin/etc?

HollyB said...

did I say anything about legalizing/regulating meth, crack or heroin? Did I say, in my comment that I had a solution to those drug problems? No, I don't think I did. The reason I didn't say those things is b/c I don't have a solution to those aspects of the drug "war".
I have a suspicion, based on NO facts whatsoever, that there are some drug counselors that might argue that methadone programs ARE a regulated form of legalized heroin, in a way. But then again, I could be wrong.

Matt G said...

I must have misunderstood.

Marijuana wasn't actually the focus of the post at hand. What drugs are like marijuana hadn't been detailed. Either the comment was pertinent to a comment pertinent to the original blog post, or one or both of us is writing non sequitors.

HollyB said...

You're abso right, Matt. I mis-wrote AND was off-topic. I should have said legalize/reg. marijuana, NOT "drugs like" b/c there aren't any drugs like it.
And since it wasn't mentioned in the original post, I guess that makes it a non-sequitor.
My Bad.