2 10 2017

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Unless you have been hiding in a cave these last few years, you are well aware of the heroin pandemic wrecking havoc within our County here in Cape May and running rampant all over this Country. When I was young, I heard lots about this opium based narcotic, but dismissed it because it was a drug more prominent within the big city urban settings and not so much in the suburbs. Shooting up on heroine was something that shady musicians and misguided addicts did to either enhance their creativity or escape their lot in life. It wasn’t something I ever gave much serious thought to.

And so when black tar heroin craze began to consume the lives of those we live and share space with in our everyday comings and goings, I was confused and quite perplexed. Suddenly we knew that as a church we needed to do something to become proactive and reactive to this rising drug crisis. Several women at The Lighthouse who experienced the havoc that drug addiction causes within a family and community got involved and formed the foundation of what has become the CURE Ministry. CURE stands for “Christians United For Recovery.” Every Thursday night, there are dedicated Christians committed to providing individual counseling, support groups, drug abuse education and positive and godly caring community. Lives have been saved both spiritually and physically while tragically, others have been lost to overdose. I am so proud of our Team of people who have literally set up life guard stations so that those drowning in a sea of substance abuse aren’t left to go under without a fierce fight for their lives.

So why has our Nation’s opium addiction escalated to such an out of control degree? What has triggered this hunger for heroin? Why has the heartland of America fared no better than the metropolitan centers when it comes to saying, “No” to drug dependence? Even New Jersey Governor Christie has challenged the medical profession to develop pain prescriptions that aren’t addictive and a wide open avenue to chase after deadlier poisons!

A man named Dave, who goes to the Lighthouse Church, recently handed me a copy of the Best Selling Book, “Dreamland,” by Sam Quinones. The story begins with a historical look of what was once the reason that those who called Portsmouth, Ohio their home was able to look out for one another in a day gone by. In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, a swimming pool the size of a football field was opened; named Dreamland, and it became the vital center of life in this Buckeye town. When time marched on, and the economy stalled, Dreamland closed down and the nightmare soon began. 

Author Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism heading for a train wreck whose unintentional collision would turn out to be beyond catastrophic. Portsmouth, once known for its Pool was now becoming the place for Pill Mills. When controlling a patient’s pain became a driving passion for the pharmaceuticals, the irresponsible prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue’s Pharmaceutical campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive and extremely addictive miracle drug. Simultaneously, a massive influx of black tar heroin into our Country, a cheap and potent solution to an addict’s slavery to opium all originated from one small village on Mexico’s west coast. Because they were independent of any drug cartel, they franchised heroin like McDonalds franchised French fries. Young Mexicans with their mouths stuffed with balloons of black tar heroin inhabited small town and mid-sized cities across our land. Law enforcement was baffled by this brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continued to lay waste men and women who lived in blue collar towns from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico, and Cape May County to Cape Cod.

Via introducing a memorable cast of characters such as the Pharmaceutical pioneers, the young Mexican entrepreneurs, the narcotics investigators, the survivors, and the clueless parents who denied that their kids could be addicts, Sam Quinones reveals how and why we have the present drug issues that all of us are fighting all over. By reading “Dreamland,” it made me aware that the problem all began because of irresponsible medical professionals who are overworked and under informed and start prescribing pain pills with no plan, no guidance, and very little accountability. Do you really need to numb your pain to such the degree that you risk addiction?

I believe that everyone who wants to make a difference and is serious about being proactive rather than reactive in the midst of today’s drug infested culture needs to read this book. I don’t believe you will hear this story told better anywhere else. It gives you the big picture from the economic hollowing-out of the middle class to the greedy and reckless marketing of pharmaceutical opiates to the remarkable entrepreneurial industry of the residents of the obscure Mexican state of Nayarit. This is no time for Ministers, Teachers, Counselors, Social Workers, and Medical Professionals to hide their heads in the sand and play dumb about a field they need to do their homework and become responsibly educated over. CURE will continue to work with those who need to be set free from the prison of addiction but I also challenge us to study so that we may recognize the signs that somebody is being set up to become another statistic! “Dreamland” has awakened me to know better how to make a difference and not surrender to the war on drugs! I challenge you to read it too.




One response

4 10 2017

Thank you, Rudy, for sharing your observations on the drug issue. I agree, the pharmaceuticals (witchcraft) makes millions on our family, friends and community who become addicted to the pain killers and then go on to the harder street drugs. We have an issue in Colorado too, and sad to say that many of our politicians, justices, law enforcement and others in position to protect our community have invested in the drug business, they are the silent partners. It is money that is laundered through other means, and unfortunately, our communities are paying the price for greed.

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