A Dose of Heroin Reality

A West Virginia television news station ran a segment, “WSAZ Investigates: A Dose of Reality,” showing an EMS supervisor, Chad Ward, responding to a heroin overdose, while wearing a body cam depicting the devastating effect Heroin is having in West Virginia.

This same sort of tragedy is playing out all over the country, including Missouri. I saw many people, including classmates, friends and family members suffer from the effects of drug addiction. Criminalizing drug use and mass incarceration  of drug users and addicts compounded the negative effects.

Narcan (Naloxone) is a drug that reverses an overdose, it is creating more concern than comfort according to an EMS professional because “it gives drug users a false sense of security.” They are concerned that people who are using or abusing these drugs are going to get into the mindset of “well somebody’s going to have Norcan.”

Rising Overdose Deaths

Deaths from overdoses of narcotic prescription painkillers more than tripled in the U.S. from 2000 to 2014. These drugs now kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined.

Years ago, many people believed that drugs was a black or brown problem and didn’t care as long as their community was not negatively affected. The same was true when crime and murders seemly occurred only in certain areas. However, as mentioned in a previous post, the fastest growing demographic of drug addiction is in white communities. Within the last two years, there have been at least 767 overdose deaths in the St. Louis area. With increasing drug use comes increasing crime.

I was raised in North St. Louis during the seventies and literally saw the decline. During the early 70’s, just about any service or product was available in the neighborhood. First there was white flight, then a reduction in city services, then businesses left, drug use increased (some government sanctioned), crime increased, and now the North Side is a shell of it’s former self.

Just about all major manufacturing left North City and moved to predominately white communities, often rural areas, far removed from the city. For example, GM manufactured Corvettes at Union and Natural Bridge until 1981, two years later in 1983, GM opened a manufacturing plant in Wentzville, MO.

When manufacturers began leaving black urban areas, no one cared. Once that pattern was established, corporations realized they could “flight” the country and move manufacturing to China and Mexico with little or no repercussions. Now many of the same jobs that left urban areas are now moving out of predominately white areas to other countries. As Martin Luther King once stated, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Carrier Corporation is the latest example of this trend, earlier this week, Carrier announced the closure of manufacturing plants in Indiana. Those jobs will be moving to Mexico.

Trump and others have been proposing closing the border, so I guess corporations figure if those workers can not longer come here, they will go there. Remember, closing the borders can work both ways. If the best manufacturing jobs end up in Mexico in the next decade, Americans may not be able to cross the border to get those jobs. Just food for thought. It’s easy to be insensitive to economic suffering, when that suffering is not your own.

Economic Predictions

It has been estimate that computerization and robotics will eliminate half of all jobs in the U.S. in less than ten years. That doesn’t include the number of jobs lost to other countries.

As economic conditions worsen, drug use will most likely continue to skyrocket. If an ultra conservative candidate gets elected as president, many of the safety nets that currently exist could be reduced or eliminated completely.

West Virginia’s coal economy has been devastated because of clean coal regulation and alternative energy. Like most other states, West Virginia, over time reduced social programs and now many people there, in mostly white communities, lack adequate food, housing and health care.  Some of these people who now need social services may have been among the very ones who argued for reductions. West Virginia is a window into the future.

Since World War II, the dominant or reserve currency of the world has been the U.S. dollar, but that is changing. Around the time I was born, GM, U.S. Steel, General Electric, Goodyear and AT&T were among the nation’s largest employers. Those companies provided good paying jobs and firmly established the middle class. Today, Wal-Mart is the nation’s largest private employer; Target, Kroger and Sears are among the top ten largest employers in the country and many of those jobs are part-time low wage positions.

In 1945, there were 41.9 workers supporting each social security retiree; by 2010 there were just 2.9 workers per retiree and as baby boomers continue to age, the numbers will only get worse. This is not a sustainable system. The private pension system is not much better off, that’s why some union retirees will see their pensions reduced, some more than half starting in July 2016.

I suspect one of the reasons union organizers were trying so hard to unionize fast food workers and get them pay increases, was to have a fresh supply of dues paying members to shore up union pension funds for existing union retirees.

When the great recession hit, I had a managerial position and reported directly to the company president. I owned four homes and I was the last person worried about a job loss. Things changed! Hopefully you’ll use the information presented on this website to prepare yourself in case things also change for you. If you’re not prepared for change, the consequence could be devastating.

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