THE songs of ‘Swamp Dog’, ‘Buddy Miles’, and ‘Bobby Womack’ with reference to drug addiction didn’t reach my generation, except that we’d danced to Womack’s ‘Harry Hippie’, were confused by what was wrong with Swamp’s ‘Sam Stone’ and why that ‘banna’ took his girl down by the river and shot her.
We watched ‘Super Fly’ and thought that our brothers in America were crazy, and, in our innnocence, were convinced when we saw ‘Apocalypse Now’, which was too much to take in on realising that it was based on real events, that drugs had something to do with spiritual evil.
We lost our innocence in the 70s with ‘Brother Bob’ and the cult of marijuana. Then emerged the Mother of all Curses, cocaine, with its consuming devastation and lure of quick wealth, which has irrevocably damaged the humanity of this country. Needless to say, the leading horsemen of this curse are the politicians, lawyers, pilots, Joint Service Officers and some religious leaders.
The force of ‘Mama Coca’ tore down the façades of social decency and revealed the inner ugliness of human creatures we had mistakenly revered, summoning the healing cause for unrelenting social revolution with the seriousness of the current Philippines’ will to act, but not necessarily with the same force.
It is difficult to comprehend that we’d never before developed a legal and health-education framework to counter the proliferation of this new menace of mind-altering substances when the first evidence of how it could destroy humanity was made manifest in the mid-1980s.
President Desmond Hoyte had passed into law a three-year prison sentence for marijuana possession. I’ve always considered that act premature and not quite well thought out. And Hoyte was a lawyer; but he was not too big to accept his human failing and admit that it was ‘NOT’ well considered, taking all into consideration. He admitted this in 1996, during a walkabout in Albouystown when I escorted him there and it was circumstantially believed that Corporal Beresford was high when he murdered young Jermaine Wilkinson.
I asked him the same question I have been asking ever since then: Where is the State information drive to counter the fiction about ‘herb heights’ and the contrived cult doctrine about the benefits of getting high?
The answer is none. Though I have witnessed endless souls, many of them friends of mine, being lost from 1980 to 2017. These 37 years of silence and ad hoc response has opened the gates of hell for many families, but from some discussions I’ve had with a minister of the government and a top legal mind with the means to act, some response of sorts is finally close around the corner.
THAT OTHER WORLD
All the shattered human frames that are daily dismissed as ‘junkies’ are people who had lives. Many of us my not admit it, but we’ve all ridden our egos in the past and dared the forbidden, and survived. Humans all have different resistant capacities.
I can remember one profound lesson I had learnt. Me and my friend, ‘Sparo’, took two popular ladies one evening for a few beers at ‘RENO’ on Sussex Street. This was around the late 70s. We were young men who knew ‘everything’! Banks DIH had come out with a supposed beverage named Bass Ale, and it became part of our seduction plan which was intended to passionately succeed.
I got up from the table after a few rounds and proceeded outside to a GEC lamppost on Sussex Street opposite ‘RENO’ to urinate. And that was the last thing I remembered!
I awoke on a plank at the back of where I lived in West Ruimveldt. ‘Sparo’ fell asleep in RENO, and the two popular ladies, after dropping me home, came back, drank almost a dozen more ‘ales’, and got up and left ‘Sparo’, who lived on King Edward Street, out on the table. We later learnt that as they walked out, they were killing themselves with laughter.
The foregoing autobiographical piece is to illustrate that people respond differently to addictive substances, whether alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana or crack cocaine.
I never got drunk again! But it’s much more difficult to quit with cigarettes, marijuana and cocaine. If you ever permitted yourself, by forceful entry, to spend five minutes in a ‘drug yard’, you will afterwards ask yourself why such a place was ever allowed to exist.
And one of the answers, you will recognise, is that these places are not only a safe haven for drug addicts, but also a repository for tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS transmission through the exchange of drug usage paraphernalia, and opportunistic sexual encounters; a veritable launching pad for addicts capable of break and enter, and a place of exchange for the hard-earned valuables from their host homes.
In that abyss, people grow old quickly, and suffer and die while the world looks on with their eyes ‘wide shut’. The problem also is that should the police arrest every addict, including those who drive up, shop and leave, where will they put them? There aren’t enough Police Stations to keep them hard at work, painting for an entire month.
The idiotic reality is prevalent in our courts, who think that sentencing a drug addict to a long time in prison is justice; or that sending a 22-year-old to a prison for selling ‘ganja’ without educating him about the THC effects in marijuana is holistic.
Through not doing the complete counter programme, which the past government had no interest in, the State has allowed the atmosphere for a dangerous hybrid called ‘HYDRO’ to now enter our vulnerable youth sphere.
Now we’re hearing about hemp [It’s really marijuana!] as a new agricultural possibility because of its 11th Century uses. That’s the argument, from an obvious conclusion that we’re too stupid to figure that out.
Yes; the surreal extends itself! Only the collective organic State can keep it real!