IF ONE SUFFERS, WE ALL SUFFER”
Quote to Note
“Quincy’s drug problem has now reached the very serious stage. Drug use in high schools is sharply increasing. A tremendous amount of heroin is present in the city and is being used by teenagers. We have a serious problem here.”
-former Norfolk County District Attorney George G. Burke
in a 1970 Quincy Sun newspaper interview
Once again, Rev. Jim’s, oops, Father Ronan (Musta been thinking of the old TAXI tv sitcom) had a viewpoint printed last week in the Patriot that inspired me to write this commentary.
When we have people living among us suffering or dying, it is had to deny it or pretend it away. Father Ronan is right. When we hear bad news, we think about it for a while and then go on with our busy lives, right? Sometimes we even con ourselves into believing we are powerless to change bad things around us. As the good father said, we hope the cops or social service agencies will tackle the problem for us and as Father Ronan noted, in many ways, “we end up with a perfect climate for the cries of drug and alcohol abuse to prosper.
His commentary also reminded us of a time years ago when this substance abuse crisis seemed so acute that folks banded together and through Charlestown Against Drugs or Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition were formed to help people get to recovery in their seamlessly broken lives.
Many today in this community see drugs and alcohol abuse as Charlestown’s continual greatest problem. It goes up or down but never away. We do need a new mindset about just how bad this crisis continues to be for Charlestown and beyond its borders. It is a cancer that destroys. It is a disease and it has many victims, the list grows on a daily basis.
We can pretend it isn’t there. We can pretend it is not about us. However, as a community of people, we do need to help one another when there is a great need that needs everyone’s help.
As someone who retired after more than 40 years in the field of mental health of which over 27 years, I served as a DMH police officer, I saw too often the effects of drug abuse, of alcoholism on the faces of those I came into contact day in and day out. I saw young people who fried their brains on drugs and now also hear imaginary
Voices in their heads. There best years are sadly behind many of them. They live tortured lives of pain.
These are not my heroes. These are victims. The real heroes are those who seek to get off this horrible merry-go-round and get into recovery. Those who recognize there is more in life than your next fix. That there is more in life than walking around like a Walking Dead zombie doing his or her junkie moves.
We all see the zombies, don’t we? We all see the junkie moves especially it seems around fast food joints where people sometimes panhandle strangers for more drug money.
I even see junkie moves right here in Charlestown. Aimlessly folks wander around the post office at the Bunker Hill Mall. We see them and we get angry sometimes at people wasting away such a valuable thing as life.
We can be angry with them. We may know who they are. They may even be relatives. We can satisfy ourselves like those hypocrites in the Bible who gloat to God that they are not like them. There is an old expression,” there but for the grace of God go I. “
It seems the older you get, you do actually get wiser. A community isn’t just you or your immediate family, it is the community of all and when one is hurting, all are hurting and when one is hurting we have a duty to help however we can.
This past Monday night, Father Ronald and members of the community came together at the Knights of Columbus to discuss this deadly issue and to find ways to become part of the solution rather than being a helpless bystander.
If one suffers, we all suffer!