A nation with its eyes closed

I usually like anti-drug ads.

The recent Bush administration spots blaming drug users for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, however, are irresponsible. Actually, they are more than that. They are absurd.

The aforementioned anti-drug message goes as follows. The viewer is bombarded with a series of quick soundbites, each quote coming from a young teenager, probably a high schoolers, saying that "they just wanted to have fun;" that "I was only harming myself;" that "I didn't hurt anyone else."

Juxtaposed with these meekly-stated testimonials are images of terrorist-inflicted damage. The ad concludes by directly accusing young drug users of supporting terrorism, of being a key reason for the Sept. 11 tragedy.

The sole purpose of my column is to demonstrate just how these television spots are not simply incorrect in their insinuations, but in fact, contain a message that is outrageous. More frightening, the presence of these anti-drug spots suggests that a majority of Americans hold an ignorant, eyes-closed view of narcotics and the "war on drugs."

The average youth, like those plastered on our TV sets and blamed for funding terrorists, do not consume pure product. Indeed, the don't even consume too many 'hard' narcotics like heroin or coke, the drugs most rogue groups profit upon. Who does? Our wealthy. So too do our athletes, musicians and politicians.

Our heroes.

How many lines of coke do you think George W. Bush snorted. Just one? A little more? How about his Yale buddies? How about his early business colleagues?

Blaming young kids' smoking mostly pot or taking a hit of ectasy for anything, particularly funding terrorist operations, is an egregious assault on America's youth.

In all actuality, one could write 15 columns on why this nation's war on drugs, in addition to being ineffective, actually exacerbates our nation's drug-related problems.

A kilo of 90 percent pure heroin<commonly called China White -- sells for an estimated $200,000 in large East coast markets like New York and Washington D.C. After being cut down and impurified several times, that kilo will bring in a return of roughly $1,000,000.

How much does a kilo of China White cost to manufacture in the mountains of Myanmar, Columbia, Mexico and Afghanistan? Roughly $2,500.

(These numbers were taken from the cover story in the June, 23 New York Times Magazine. I encourage this audience to go to your local libraries and read it).

The U.S. government is solely responsible for creating this immense 4,000-fold profit.

The efforts of the United States -- and, to be fair, other Western nations -- directly fund every cog in the immense chain of producers, traffickers and distributors. Every New York druglord, every Nigerian trafficking klan, and every sweat-labor utilizing producer in the mountains of some third-world country depends on the illegality of their product to turn a profit.

Their existence could disappear.

Where am I coming from? Let me tell you.

I guarantee you that I hate narcotics far more than the average American, and probably a lot more than at least 95 percent of the people reading this.

Know where I spent my New Year's morning? In the Emergency Room at the UNC Medical Center. A close friend overdosed.

At five in the morning I held her limp body in my arms as I made my way down the steps of balcony at the Chapel Hill nightclub where I worked. Out of the 150 people still partying<for the sixth straight hour -- I was literally the only one sober. As I lay her on the hood of an outside car, she tried to sit up. She couldn't. She tried to speak. She managed only mumbles.

Nevertheless, her Xed-out companions tried to get her in their car. I had to physically keep her in my possession to prevent her from being taken home to "sleep."

When the paramedics came, she was struggling to breathe. She stopped breathing while they pumped her stomach. I saw all this.

If she went anywhere, or the ambulance was simply late, she would have.

The war on drugs isn't a war. It's a massacre. Drugs are everywhere. More black youths are in prison than in college because of them.

The situation has deteriorated in recent years, and it is only getting worse.

Almost all lethal overdoses occur for one of two reasons: A mixing of narcotics, or the consumption of impure product.

I am up to my eyeballs in drugs. Included in my list of friends are recreational ecstasy users, cocaine users, and even a few who prefer nitrous oxide.

Who are these people? They are societies underworld, right? Pimps, prostitutes, club-going waitresses and bartenders.

Wrong. They are bank managers. They are government workers. They are white-collar employees.

Open your eyes America. Drugs are everywhere. They have been and will be always in our midst. The addictions and the deaths keep piling up.

The solution may be radical, but it is no less critical to stemming drugs harmful effect on Americans<legalize the damn things; control their distribution; control their purity. Educate, truly educate our youth.

Fewer kids will be in the ER coughing up black paste given to them so they can purge her weakened body.

Nick Christie is a Trinity senior and an associate sports editor.


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