Mr. President, what in God’s name are you doing? Your Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has turned the clock back in our country almost 35 years. Our nation’s heroin epidemic is a health crisis and will never be solved with a lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key solution.
Despite all intelligent research leading to a mandate conclusion that incarceration will not ever diminish drug addiction and the radical negative effects it has on our economy, “My Favorite Martian,” Jeff Sessions, has just ordered federal prosecutors to chase far harsher sentences against drug-addict-criminals.
Mr. Trump, who is going to pay for all these non-violent new criminals? You couldn’t even get Mexico to pay for your wall. Furthermore, I certainly hope you understand that the Appalachian states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic will implode the population of our prisons with an extremely large poor black population. And Mr. President, that is just wrong! In fact, it’s un-American.
Mr. President, you have a daunting task in front of you. But you can’t “Make America Great Again” by sitting back and watching 4,367 American children die every month from an accidental overdose of heroin. That’s right, 144 people a day die from an accidental overdose of opioids.
Mr. Trump, I was born with a brain injury. Doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston told my parents I’d never be able to walk normally.
Young children are mean. My early childhood was filled with insults and laughs. When I walked into a classroom, a restaurant, or down a street, people didn’t look into my eyes. They always looked down as I limped awkwardly along.
But I overcame and became a varsity athlete at a prep school outside of Boston. As a teenager, I grew strong, and anybody that made fun of my limp or my awkward gate became irrelevant. Frankly, Mr. Trump, as far as I am concerned, the day you mocked a disabled reporter ended your presidential candidacy.
That said, after you won, I was all for giving you a chance to “Make America Great Again.” I was not like my liberal friends who were hell-bent to destroy you before you even took office. Deep down inside my soul, I hoped and prayed you would actually succeed at uniting our great country. Because to be honest here, in the end, President Obama disappointed a lot of us who had voted for him.
Mr. President, I implore you to focus your efforts on the heroin epidemic that is running rampant and crushing the American dream in every state in the Union.
I understand that the stigma and moral issues of heroin addiction run deep. Today’s heroin epidemic parallels the AIDS epidemic of the ‘70s. The old school philosophy back then was, “Men having sex with men. It’s not natural. That’s God’s punishment.”
Although the diction has changed, the sentiment remains constant today. “I didn’t force them to stick a needle of heroin into their arm. Why should I be forced to pay for their rehabilitation?”
But you see, we are not just junkies, Mr. President. I am three decades clean, have received the du-Pont-Columbia as a journalist, written two books, became a WGA screenwriter and worked on “The Fighter,” a feature film that won two Academy Awards.
I have spoken to organizations and recovery centers all across America. And what amazed me the most were the rooms were filled with middle-class kids whose fathers were chiefs of police, firefighters, teachers, lawyers, and doctors.
Heroin addiction is insidious: in several states across this country, young women are selling themselves as sex slaves to maintain their daily heroin habit.
Just recently, NPR did a radio program about heroin addicts who are purposely committing crimes, so they’ll be arrested and locked up to get the treatment they need.
Treatment is just not available on the streets because there aren’t any beds available in recovery centers. The medical community could never have prepared for the onslaught of heroin in their neighborhoods.
But make no mistake about it, Mr. President, this epidemic was given birth by corporate greed. In fact, the Sacklers, the Godfathers of OxyContin, rang in at number 19 on last year’s Forbes annual list of America’s richest families. Just think of the evil, they acquired a fortune with the blood of young Americans.
But as president of the United States of America, you still have an opportunity to change all this. There is a solution. Create a “sin tax” similar to the cigarette and alcohol tax levied by several states. If big Pharma wants to do business on the backs of the American consumers suffering from chronic pain, make them pay a “recovery tax.”
Create a work program for heroin addicts that want help. A simple, we’ll pay for your thirty-day recovery hospital and continued care, and you’ll work cleaning up roads or run down areas of your community to pay for it.
Designate a line on the IRS tax forms for people to donate a dollar or more to help put an end to the suffering brought on by the countless deaths of promising young men and woman.
I have an 11-year-old son who is on the brink of growing up in a society that will be the most dangerous environment in America’s history. You see, Mr. Trump, not since your predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, has the youth of America been more in jeopardy. Yes, not since the Vietnam War has a generation been at greater risk to die between the ages of 18 to 25. Please help them!
Mr. President, I’ll say it one more time, you still have the opportunity to put the right people in charge. You alone can save your legacy. But if you continue on this path of destruction, you will most certainly go down in history as the “Accidental President.”
Follow Ritchie Farrell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ritchiefarrell1
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.