Anna M. Vanderford
Did you know that we have been having a civil war for many years now, what was deemed as The War on Drugs. Not only was I on the wrong side of the war but I am a casualty of the war.
I grew up with an alcoholic, pedophile for a father and a cult-blinded, religious mother. I was scared of everything, but if I was going to live in sin, I had narrowed it down to my childhood sin of sex. My boyfriend on the other hand, was into drugs. All those sayings about "birds of a feather flock together" or about "gateway drugs", stem from somewhere.
My boyfriend and I lived together, near the university campus. We lived in a large house, but each room was rented to a different tenant and the bathroom and kitchen were communal. We lied to our parents that we were taking college classes and took the money to live. As in almost all relationships, it was perfect in the beginning, one wouldn't be there if it wasn't. He was always an easygoing and mellow guy. Who wouldn't be, that had money, sex and drugs at his disposal.
There was a pot garden in the basement. One of the other tenants paid the electricity. Eventually I would end up pregnant, my guy's drug use escalated, and we would drop by different bars to pick up heroin and our money was gone.
I don't know if I had been a cash cow or because I wouldn't use drugs (due to the pregnancy), I became such a downer. But my guy was leaving me, abandoning me to follow the Grateful Dead. I ended up shooting him and with a life sentence.
It sounds like a long and winding road that doesn't have much to do with drugs. However, I've been in prison 30 years and I don't recall anyone in prison that hasn't been touched by drugs.
There's theft when you can't afford to do drugs, disorderly conduct, drunkenness, assaults due to the mood altering affects, prostitution to stay high. HEP and HIV transmission, and the small fish are arrested for these types of drug related behaviors and city social problems. The kingpin importers, pimps, and money launderers are hardly ever at the punishment end of this war.
I'm not a proponent of demonizing drugs. In fact, I am all for legalizing them. I believe in sex education and drug education. Show the chemistry, show the pictures of years of meth abuse. Show the truly ugly side of drug addiction. When people grow into an age where they can make an educated choice , preferably after their brains have stopped developing (25 years of age), let them make a choice.
It is the self destructive person that will take drugs to extreme ends. The failure is in the education about addiction and the immediate treatment of those under 25 years of age. -End
If you are working on an APWA-related project, please let us know how you plan to utilize the Archive. We hope to share information about your work with our readers and, whenever possible, with relevant APWA authors.
APWA is an open access archive. We encourage use of the writings for research, course planning, and projects engaged in examination of the criminal legal system. Reproduction of essays in their entirety infringes on author copyright without their explicit consent from the writers. Please contact us if you plan to reproduce entire essays; we will do our best to put you in contact with the authors for consent, and their compensation for any project that is profit making.