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Letter: Behind the drug use

I am a retired social worker who worked largely with recovering addicts and while I appreciate the series by Recorder staff to track the arrival of narcotic drugs in our area and what community members, families and addicts can do to “push back,” I believe that only addresses the tip of the iceberg. The real reason for addiction is our economic climate and the impact on underskilled labor of outsourcing U.S. jobs to other countries for maximizing costs of production and distribution of goods, plus the replacement of skilled labor by machines. With the disappearance of the middle class more and more of us are falling into the low-income category where there are few opportunities for employment. With employment comes self-esteem. With a living wage comes the pride of supporting oneself and one’s family. Without that sense of personal agency in one’s life it is tempting to want to escape one’s sense of helplessness to do anything right and soon a person can succumb to identifying oneself as needing a fast fix to escape the sorrow and pain of non-accomplishment. The drug dealers can offer a “job” that pays well, giving a person who has few options the false sense of security that has a high price tag attached to it. I believe that people are basically good and smart. Drug dealing and drug using are unhealthy solutions to a deeper problem in our society. Until we address the economic reality we all face, we are putting Band-Aids on a hemorrhaging wound. All the more reason to support local efforts to provide jobs in our community. Pay attention to how other countries have dealt with this problem and heed the good example of Bernie Sanders in Vermont to get to the bottom of the economic driver that invites drugs as a false solution.

BECCA KING

Greenfield

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