America tends too often to treat symptoms rather than causes, and to blame outsiders for internal ills. Like Trump with his imaginary Mexican rapists, Gov. Paul LePage points to New York drug dealers with African-American nicknames as the source of the “heroin epidemic.” Well, I’ve also seen a good many white drug dealers’ mugshots in this paper, so let’s just consider the demand for drugs itself and the consumers who create this market, for if there were no demand for heroin, there would be no drug dealers at all — white or black — just as there aren’t many people selling asbestos insulation.

So who are “they,” these people who risk their lives with heroin and create the demand and the market? Why do they do it? What’s wrong in their lives? Is anyone helping them?

As Pogo wisely said long ago about a lot of American problems, “We has met the enemy, and he is us”.” And Luke (4:23) seemed to agree, when he quoted Jesus as saying, “Physician, heal thyself!”

Our society suffers from ills that arise from within. There are alienated, miserable, hopeless people, many of them young, who seek to medicate themselves with drugs. And while illegal drugs may mask pain for a brief while, its origins remain unaddressed. And the snake pit of jail is no solution.

Abbott Meader


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