A wise man once said, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." It doesn't take an Einstein to see the results we expect as a society are not happening. Something needs to change.
Well-intentioned people seem convinced they understand the drug problem and claim to know the solution, but as far as I'm concerned, they sure as hell don't know how to get there. If they were in the backseat of my cab, I'd strongly suggest they approach drug abuse for what it is -- a public-health issue.
What does the meter say now?
The state invests a great deal of our money in arrests that bring no end to drugs, in costly trials that merely interrupt the flow of drugs, and in rules and regulations that only temporarily deflect the source of drug components.
Addicts occupy more beds in regional jails than in treatment centers. The state provides beds in prison but few resources that can begin to make a dent in the demand for drugs. For example, Highland Hospital's detox unit can hold up to 16 addicts but the state of West Virginia provides funds for only six of those beds. Highland Detox is located in an unused facility in Kanawha City that could treat 50 or 60 addicts. There are many places like Highland around our state where 28-day drug treatment programs might begin to help my sick friends.
I may drive a cab now but once I was sick and suffered from the disease of addiction. My past is as checkered as the stripe on the side of my taxi. My active addiction lasted for many desperate years before I was finally pointed toward a new destination and beautiful friends showed me how to get there.
My world changed when I realized I wasn't a bad person trying to be good; I was a sick person trying to get better.
I've found I can keep the demons at bay by helping others. It's not the statistics and newspaper articles that form my opinion. It's life. My life.
Where are we going?
How do we want to get there?
Pushkin, a local musician and cab driver, is running for the House of Delegates in the 37th District.