What we need to do to stop this senseless and tragic loss of our people to substance abuse

My viewpoint-  Go here (updated 2/14/01)
Other important aspects of substance abuse-
  • by Mike Jones Oct 1999 (updated 2/14/01)


    One way to look at this perspective is to compare my parents generation to our generation- the vaunted baby boomers.  I recently attended a WWII reunion of the 483rd Bombardment group in Oklahoma City.  My stepfather, Dick Floyd, flew 35 missions out of Stephone(sp) Italy in the last few months of the war. This reunion was a unique and insightful look at my parents generation. He and  my Mom reminisced with the remaining 4 members of his 10 man flight crew, their spouses and 125 or so of the 4500 other Americans who served with that group sometime during the war. Their harrowing stories of death narrowly escaped while the horrible thoughts of the many who perished plummeting to the ground below were particularly riveting. Now for those lucky enough to still be alive, life has come full circle. The sound of their warm banter rebounds around the room. I can sense the inner peace within themselves and feel the incredible camaraderie that for many might had been dormant for a very long time. There is much to celebrate too.  They rebuilt America from the great depression. They defeated enemies who practiced evil of epic proportions. They rebuilt the world from the ashes of the great war. They completed their mission at great sacrifice but without vindictiveness and rancor. They came home, built families, communities and a powerful economic engine. One can only come away from such a heartfelt gathering in awe of  our parents generation accomplishments. There is no doubt that this generation is this century's greatest and I felt very privileged and in awe to be able to participate in this humbling event.

    As you guess, I'm a baby boomer and while it was easy growing up to point out our parents failures such as civil rights, the Vietnam war, Watergate, environmental abuses and other "faults", those concerns pale besides the life and death drama that they fought. We were so naive! We grew up in a far better environment then our parents did. Yet, we rebelled against our parents ideals and morals. We rejected for the most part the commitment and sacrifice to our country that they so freely embraced.

    Now we too have come full circle and we face our own day of reckoning. I wonder how we will stack up? I know for myself and a few others  we still remain at war. This war is amongst ourselves. There are no Nazi panzers to stop. We  lose one son here-a daughter there- but the faces and the tragedies all get blurred or hidden amongst all the other daily news. Millions of others are thrown in jail to endure  mind numbing and spirit crushing incarceration. Many others suffer  too but just don't get caught. Families are broken. Where will it end? What will the next generation be like?   I believe that we have failed. We have allowed the cancer of immorality and the pursuit of pleasure without responsibility to loosen the cornerstones of our society.  We have so much but really we have so little. It's no wonder that in a recent poll that most Americans feel our souls are undernourished. It is no wonder that substance abuse permeates our society.

    Consequently, that's how I view our struggle today -as a war that will last as long as times are good and we remain a land of plenty.  Our only hope is to attempt to reduce the scope of the carnage.  We'll also have to pray that the next generation learned a great lesson from the rite of passage that drugs have become for them. I think they have but the scars run quite deep.

    Still, there is much that we can do to help this next generation as well as soften the environment for the generation behind them. We just need to stop fighting this war the way we fought the Vietnam war. Some say we contained communism for all those years and it was worth the price. I disagree as it seemed to me to be a tragic waste of life. So to conclude I believe our best war plan is to be adopting positive changes that will effect generations to follow. It took a generation for substance abuse to become such a pervasive problem. It will take another generation to correct it. I just hope and pray that like our parents in W.W.II that we have the courage to fight this war the way it needs to be fought...and that's in full battle gear.

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