Sylvester Salcedo was so far ahead of his time, observers wondered if he was from the far side of the earth. Well his time has come, in part. He spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy, the final three fighting the government’s misplaced war on drugs in more ways than one. He realized it was a complete failure, another trillion dollar federal scam of the people’s money.
In the early days of OIB Sly opined often with specific ways to address drug use now being adopted. He made it the cornerstone issue of his run for State House in 2008. For more accurate info on legal and illegal drugs, check this new blog with a post about how the overdose of delta 8 is nearly something impossible.
In the commentary that follows Sly reflects on the issues he raised 13 years ago and more that must be done.
The recent news that the Connecticut Legislature passed the recreational marijuana law effective July 1 made me think back to the year 2008 in local Bridgeport politics history.
That year I ran in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for the State Representative (130th District) with Chico Rivera and Ezequiel Santiago. The outcome was not in doubt, but I wanted to make an effort to try to get the word out about ending the War on Drugs on a political level. She/He who has the Bridgeport Democratic Party’s endorsement usually wins the nomination in August and wins the seat in November. That’s generally the magic local political formula in Bridgeport as many of you regular OIB readers know well, with extremely rare exceptions. Ever the optimist, I was hoping against all odds that something would break for my End the Drug War political platform. Of course, it did not. Too bad for me. All the while, I was under the gun from a new bride: “you win, we stay in Bridgeport. You lose, we move to a new town I pick.”
Looking back, it was a personal blow, of course, but I believe it was more disappointing for residents of the 130th District and Bridgeport because 13 years has been lost to an opportunity (economic development, tax revenues, building construction, branding Bridgeport as the leading “New ‘cannabis coffee shop’ Amsterdam”) and a vision which has just finally evolved and accepted today. As Governor Lamont said about his ct.gov/cannabis website: “Now begins the important work of standing up a fair, well-regulated marketplace for businesses and consumers that prioritizes public health, safety and social equity.” That was my singular campaign platform in 2008 for the 130th District to support a “drug tolerant zone” with well-regulated marijuana coffee shops along Fairfield Avenue/downtown on one side of the district and on East Main Street on the other side. Also, medical professionals-operated safe heroin injection/consumer clinics would have been available in the district to eliminate street level drug sales and criminal activities associated with the retail and major distribution of “harder” drugs for public safety and social equity. The fentanyl contamination danger would not exist because all heroin distributed would be “clean” pharmaceutical grade quality on a pay as you can basis. You have no money, you get it free. No judgments. We meet you where you are in the medical/psycho-social stage of your life.
But what does this all mean today?
Okay, so we’re kinda set with recreational marijuana. The final ins and outs are in the Governor’s website with the nitty-gritty details on sale and distribution and licensing and so on.
But what about heroin and the so-called opioid crisis?
Well, I think Bridgeport still has a golden opportunity to take the lead in this area. Who is up for it? (Are you listening, Bridgeport legislative delegation/team?) Bridgeport is a transportation hub with I-95(cars and trucks), rail, waterway/port. It has higher education centers (UB, Sacred Heart, Fairfield U., Housatonic Community College). It has Health Centers (St. Vincent’s, Bridgeport Hospital, many medical and research-oriented professionals). It has history and it has heart. Most important, I believe, it still has determined people who can and will transform the city. Unfortunately, for me, I am not gonna be one of those transformational Bridgeport personalities. I think I’m destined to be a wanderer. And that’s okay. I am with you on “Only in Bridgeport” forever, or until my internet link cuts out.
One closing thought, this 16-month long quarantine period has driven many of us batty, and it has driven me to accept finally that I will be a “lifelong wanderer” indeed. So much so, that I’ve concocted, after reading a book (The Reverse Immigrant by Alfred Zappalà), a plan to be a “reverse immigrant” in September to Sicily with the kids who have maternal great grandparents from Caltanisetta in the heart of the island. And while researching about Sicily on the internet, I’ve discovered that many highly educated and trained, young millennial Sicilians who for generations (don’t we know those stories???) until now have been forced to become “migrants to Northern Italy or abroad in the EU” in search of work for a living wage, but now, on their own, they are taking the initiative to return home, by the thousands, to work in their native land, Sicilia, via teleworking and online services. Like the Sicilian millennials of today, I am confident there are many Bridgeporters at heart, and Bridgeporters-to-be who will reinvigorate and rebuild Connecticut’s largest city. Ci vediamo pronto! See you soon.
Sicilian, looks Asain. I think history/science is underscoring the Asiatic, Asian “migration” of humans and its impact/influence on human civilization, from the time of antiquity, ancient antiquity, Babaloniean and Mesopotamian, classical antiquity Greeks, Romans, and Egyptian, to Western Civilization, Tik Tok 🙂 JMO
When they said, “weed is a gateway to harder drugs”. Was this what they meant? Legalize weed and then legalize heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine. 🙂
That being said, Salvator, what are you smokin? The sad part is this type of thinking/policy has a growing trend. If you advocate for it long enough to get 50% of the population to agree, democracy has won, and it must be right. Legalizing weed is one thing, legalizing harder drugs is another thing.
For the most part, potheads smoking weed is like ladies drinking wine or men having a beer. Besides, pot tends to make people less angry and aggressive, unlike alcohol. Not to mention, the medical benefits. Let’s face it, when had the medical community, your doctor, prescribed their patient a bottle of wine or a bottle of Jack? Well, they did prescribe Oyxcotin, and we know how that turned out for the patients, families, and society.
Weed is used by some drug users as a means to help them stray away from using harder drugs. Legalizing hard drugs while giving them free access to drugs may end the “war” on illegal drugs, but it”s far from a solution.
We are talking about an addiction/disease. Without any punishment/consequence/reason to stop and change for the betterment of themself with the government facilitating it. It will create a growing segment in society that can barely take care of itself, can’t see fewer people using it if it’s legal and free.
Who expects anyone to stop using drugs that are highly addictive if the government is facilitating it and giving free access to drugs?
Sure, maybe crime/gangs activities will be reduced for obtaining/selling it. Without Some kind of motivation/reason, don’t expect people once addicted to stop using, especially with free access or be highly productive in a society like those “highly educated and trained, young millennial Sicilians” migrating back to Sicily. Have you seen the communities and lives of addiction?
There are two types of conditioning response, punishment, and rewards. No one can expect a reward, free access to drugs to stop/help of addiction, and trying to take away the reward/money and in effort curb gangs and gang activities is a slippery slope. It is like saying we are going to end corruption in the Port once Joe/Mario is removed, Moore/GenNow is elected. 🙂
The money spent on the so-called “war on drugs ‘ will pale in comparison to the money spent on an out-of-control society of drug dependency/addicts, because the government is facilitating and supplying their drug use. The government probably spends more on that segment of society already, and with its financial impact on its economy then what is being spent/lost on the “war on drugs”
Just look at the impact of the opiate crisis on people’s lives and society, and that came from the legal drug trade that’s been facilitated by the government and the medical community, perpetrated by doctors, who people put their trust in when seeking help?
So does anyone think the Government is helping people/society by giving free access to harder highly addictive drugs?
It got to a point drug addiction/use is considered a disease, covered by insurance for treatment. That’s only because “white” I mean” non-white trash” white people are addicted/drug addicts now. That’s that governmental racial systematic system at work, people.
If anyone thinks free heroin/crack in the Port will better the Port, or these types of policies are not another racial systematic racial policy? You are not only a side of the Socialist/Marxist Democrat, who is looking to grow its need for government dependence/control on society. But a racist as well (if you’re white), If you are a minority (black) well, I’ll let the black community label a black for advocating a government (D) policy of free crack/heroine in their community. For everyone knows full well, it will have a more heavily negative impact on urban (minority) communities, considering the free government (easy) access to drugs will be distributed in those communities along with white trash communities. Or you are smoking something, and it’s not weed. 🙂
If anything, if the CT Bridgeport legislative delegation/team or any CT legislative delegation/team truly wants to help people with their drug addiction issues, Instead of enabling their drug addiction/use for highly addictive drugs by giving them for free, decriminalize drug use/addicts, in a sense. Dedicate/outfit those closed prisons into treatment/prison/facilities for drug/use/addicts related crimes as a treatment/prison/facility. Where the patient/inmate can get treatment/punishment, who will go through a detox stage and 3/6 months in a drug-free facility/prison with counseling support systems, and then take it there. If you want to be aggressive/stern/in your help, depending on the crime/relapse make the patient/inmate take a drug test on their probation period, if they fail, back to “detox/prison. The goal would be to get them off their addiction, not get them high 24/7 chasing the dragon. SMH JS People. Bam, I am out of here.
Sly is Filipino whose Italian is mighty good and I dare say his Sicilian.
Salcedo’ s comments resonated with me. They reminded me of Clint Thornton, Green Party candidate for Governor in 2006. He too spoke of legalizing marijuana and hemp and what he termed “medicalization” of more potent drugs. Moralists may well raise their voices, aghast at such thought. However, 50 years ago President Nixon declared the “War On Drugs” , and it was some 40 years prior to that when marijuana was declared a class 1 drug begetting “Reefer Madness”. Nearly a century later, what has been gained? In my opinion, more pain and anguish brought about by the Judicial and Prison Industrial Complexes than the drugs itself. Here is a link to an interview with Thornton that I think gives a very lucid explanation of what he proposed. http://www.pinkyshow.org/projectarchives/videos/the-war-on-drugs-fail-an-interview-with-clifford-thornton-jr
Did you actually listen to what he said? Teh decriminalization would generate/shift $600 million from the release of 2/3 inmates in that “Prison Industrial Complexes” and with that $600 million it would fund health care for every person in the state of Connecticut, have an effective drug treatment program for every person in Connecticut, and fund public education till the cows come home. That 600 million is as magical as those mushrooms he took before he let a Pinky the Cat interview him. 🙂
You might be a little off in your opinion that more pain and anguish is brought about by the Judicial and Prison Industrial Complexes than the drugs themselves when speaking of drug users, not the gang/dealing aspect, but the user’s addicts. Most of that pain and anguish that takes place to those involved come well before the so-called Judicial and Prison Industrial Complexes. In fact that pain and anguish subside somewhat when they enter that system. Granted, a lot of that pain and anguish come from getting the money for the drugs. But unless you are going to write off some you know who is close to you, which is what legalization of harder drugs does for the most part, which is pain and anguish in itself. So you have to define pain and anguish.
As I said, “if anyone thinks free heroin/crack in the Port will better the Port, or these types of policies are not another racial systematic racial policy? You are not only a side of the Socialist/Marxist Democrat, who is looking to grow its need for government dependence/control on society. But a racist as well (if you’re white), If you are a minority (black) well, I’ll let the black community label a black for advocating a government (D) policy of free crack/heroine in their community. For everyone knows full well, it will have a more heavily negative impact on urban (minority) communities, considering the free government (easy) access to drugs will be distributed in those communities along with white trash communities. Or you are smoking something, and it’s not weed.”
Maybe I should have added any Socialist/Marxist Democrat disguised as a third party. I would take what Thornton said with a grain of cocaine after that 600 million remarks. He also said after legalization/free drugs then hard work began and is getting people off their addiction. That hard work has been going on longer than the drug war itself. If that’s the hard work, punch out because they have already been written off. SJ
You can’t be a reverse immigrant to Sicily unless you were born there.!
It’s his affiliation with America that enables Sly Salcedo to be a “lifelong wanderer”.
Credit (debt) is the ultimate drug and nobody benefits more than the subject of today’s featured post.
Years ago, when I was the director of a substance-abuse prevention/treatment program down-county, a young, recently retired US Naval Officer who had been involved with drug-traffic interdiction on the high seas of the Caribbean, approached me regarding an opportunity to speak to my BOD concerning his observations and radical ideas regarding the War on Drugs that was then in its 5th or 6th decade. I agreed, with some reluctance and trepidation, to get him scheduled to speak at a monthly BOD meeting concerning his “radical” ideas which I didn’t agree with (at the time) and which I knew that most of my very conservative BOD and its police-chief president would certainly not agree. I agreed on the basis of the need for our BOD to be aware of potential policy changes involving the important law-enforcement aspect of our work per the need to stay ahead of such changes and to perhaps even move to preclude such changes…
Well: it probably isn’t necessary to describe the post-meeting reaction of my board to the message of the “radical”, young Naval officer…
Now, some 20+ years later, we see that much of society, and much of government, at all levels, has fallen in line with the thinking of the “radical”, young naval officer turned lawyer/politician, even as the corporate narcotics kingdom of one of the prominent members of the BOD has been left in a multi-$billion$ legal morass that presents an existential threat to that company/industry, while further in the background, the son of the board president was forced to resign from his position as a police officer for the theft (and personal use) of narcotics from the department evidence lock-up, while other board members have had to deal with the legal and family-tragedy ramifications of the surge in narcotics abuse (and related mortality) in our society that was catalyzed and fueled by the aforementioned corporate narcotics kingdom of the aforementioned prominent board member…
Yes, Sylvester; your observations on the failure/counter-productivity of the War on Drugs have proven to be all-too-accurate… Your admonition to the influential people at that board meeting (et al.) to consider changes in thinking and policy regarding the redirection of resources from the promotion of “social control” to social healing/health, was really quite timely — even for the “land of steady habits” (really, the “land of perseveration”…).
With respect to Bridgeport and the benefits of the War on Drugs; we should keep in mind that we have gone from being the “Drug Supermarket on I-95” in that famous 1995 National Geographic article, to being the Drug Supermarket on I-95 in the “where to cop” directories of all drug abusers living/traveling within the NE Corridor. And financial life is great, albeit usually short, for the gang-controlled drug-dealers of otherwise jobless Bridgeport (who seem to be able to somehow almost always outmaneuver law-enforcement in their drug-marketeering pursuits…).
Kudos! Your definitely on the right track, Sylvester. (I think that you might be aiming a bit too low, politically, however…)
For Robert Texeira: many thanks for your extensive feedback. I see you really put in an admirable amount of effort and time in your comments.
First, yes, your observations are uncanny and insightful, right on the money: I’m Asian, not Sicilian. Filipino-Chinese to be specific. But you should have caught the Filipino part right off the bat: the formula is always a Hispanic surname plus Asian face equals Filipino! Works all the time…think about all those Filipino Presidents: Manuel Quezon, Elpidio Quirino, Corazon Aquino, et al…..But you would be just half-correct in my case because my mom is Chinese by blood, Filipino by birth.
About the “Reverse Immigrant” status…well, it’s merely a term of art, (The author of the book, The Reverse Immigrant, Attorney Alfred Zappalà himself was born in Massachusetts, but returned to Sicily 20 years ago as a vicarious “reverse Immigrant” through his grandfather and father who were born in Sicily, but technically, yes, you are correct again with Local Eyes, that to be a “reverse immigrant” one would have to be born/originally from somewhere (e.g.. Sicily or the Philippines), then immigrate to another country (e.g.., the USA), and then ‘reverse immigrate’ back to their country of origin or birth…and in U. S. history that back and forth was not uncommon for Sicilians and Italians some 100 years ago….I think historians and academics who track this type of info can inform us that of the many Italian/Sicilian immigrants to the USA, 100-130 years ago almost 1/3 “returned back to Sicily/Italy” during their lifetime because of the difficulty in adjusting/assimilating to conditions/society/language/family issues/prejudice/unfair treatment in the USofA…and some just came intentionally to the US just to work, save money and return home to the family farm or village…this is not limited to Italians or Sicilians, of course, many other ethnic groups have done this over the years, including Filipinos…they did not come seek the “American Dream” necessarily.
But our own family “reverse immigrant” adventure is now on our YouTube family channel called “Back to Sicily” and we invite you to join us for travel updates as soon as COVID vaccinations are available for the 11 and under: And don’t forget to hit the subscribe and like button!!! My son, Leo says we need 1/2 million subs to sell merch!!!! We’re at 33 subs already in 10 months!!! Yippee!!! Not exactly going viral quickly, but it’s fun!
About my smoking history, I refer you to my (Department of Defense) DD Form 398 found at:
http://www.salcedoforsenate.com click on “Bio” then “DD Form 398”. The Feds knew I was a marijuana smoker way back when, but still got a “Top Secret” clearance…because Mark Twain said, “if you tell the truth, you never have to remember anything.” So true. As a special bonus for you in this age of legal recreational marijuana in Connecticut, I believe my pot party top ten tunes, what kids today call a “playlist” is there, too, under “Favorites,” feel free to check it out. Depending on your age, some the songs may be familiar to you. But haven’t really smoked much of anything since 1977, and then really, I’m more a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie kind of guy, so bake ’em and we’ll party!!!
A special closing remark on the YouTube clip you provided. I watched it fully with great interest, and really appreciated that you shared it because that clip and the many others by that/my fellow YouTuber, KimGary, shows with exacting detail precisely why “legalizing heroin and providing safe injection/consumption clinics plus outpricing the illicit drug market (with at-cost to free)” will eliminate that sort of public display of a public health breakdown and neglect of the less fortunate (the homeless, persons with mental health issues) from having to display their personal pain and anguish on public streets and parks and other isolated or publicly abandoned locations.
The point is not to impose sobriety on anyone and everyone, but to understand the complexity of pain management and personal behavior, and then apply a public health approach versus trying to meet a set of social standard of behavior and expectations like the conventional “get sober or you’re going to jail” approach which really has not worked. Just my two cents. I know someone smarter than I am will figure this out eventually…Only in Bridgeport, I hope!!!
The thoughts come easily, my two cents, putting it in writing from, well, that took an admirable amount of effort, more than you think. 🙂
I will not go on to say my comment was right on the money, but money/power is the driving force behind this discussion, regardless of who’s driving and which direction they’re heading.
With regards to reverse immigrants. I would bet it’s more retirement than migration. The ones who have come here and have ties to their homeland tend to go back home to retire, especially in the early years of mass migration to America. While their kids are more likely to visit but retire somewhere within the US.
That being said, Sylvester, you’re smokein something and it’s not weed 🙂 if you want to legalize heroin/opioids and supply if for free at safe injection/consumption clinics. If there’s a so-called war on drugs you are giving up on it. At least on the low segment of society.
When I said it’s a class/racial policy it’s because to end the war on drugs you will have to legalize/supply every drug to eliminate that war. And that’s not what you and others are advocating. Such policies not only target communities of the less fortunate or those that have reached their lowest point, but they will not end the personal pain, anguish on public streets as well, nor will the illegal drug markets.
I lived right by a methadone clinic and the line of people was staggering. Unless those supply clinics will operate 24/7 and provide free unlimited heroin that illegal dealing isn’t going anywhere. Nor will that clean pharmaceutical grade quality compete with street-level drugs, it can’t. It will be a place, a level up from methadone clinics, just another stop for free fix a few times a day if they can’t come up in the real shit.
Those safe injection places may save lives from overdosing and other health factors. But it well just normalizes that pain, anguish associated with being an addict and addiction in society, from a government/society that has given up on them and is looking to mitigate the efforts of daily drug use, and the public display of a public health breakdown.
This mother’s pain and anguish are not going anywhere because someone gives her son some free heroin and a safe place to shoot up it. She is just watching him live a slow death and a life of despair and dependence.
In my point of view. You should impose the user to get clean. You can have a no judgment point of view where the government/society supplies and normalizes drug addiction. It is immoral and irresponsible for the government to publicly and openly support and supply this type of life of addiction and not impose people to get clean and break their addiction.
If your son becomes an addict. What would you do, impose/help him to get clean or give him all the money he needs for drugs and allow him to get high at home, a safe place?. If you choose the latter for your son, do you think your pain and anguish, as well as his ends because your son doesn’t have to commit any crimes to get the drugs he needs and is shooting it up in a safe place?
Do you think this mother’s pain and anguish are gone because her son has a safe place to shoot up in?
I agree sending addicts to prison is not a wise approach, especially where they can still get high while in prison. Nor do I believe you can save every addict to get clean, some don’t even want to be. To have an honest conversation, You have to inject money, drug addicts are just a commodity for different groups/advocates fighting over them. While that cost to incarcerate is seemingly higher, the cost for free injection clinics is comparable and costs upwards of $30,000 to supply/treat a person each year with no real goal to end it.
They always say follow the money. Hell, I even bet the illicit drug industry were/are behind the advocacy of safe injections and Narcan. A lot of money is lost when an addict overdoses. Just like there is a lot of money to imprison them. As well as, treating/supplying clients, be it in paraphernalia, drugs, or a safe place. Once you start giving addicts drugs for their addiction they are eventually being written off by society/government and become commodities to their new dealer, part-time deal at best.
Ultimately it’s the addict who is going to save themself from the life of addiction. . You have to ask yourself what is the best approach for those who will save the self and those who will not/can.
I stand by my approach. “Instead of enabling their drug addiction/use of highly addictive drugs by giving it for free, decriminalize drug use/addicts, in a sense. Dedicate/outfit those closed prisons into treatment/prison/facilities for drug/use/addicts related crimes as a treatment/prison/facility. Where the patient/inmate can get treatment/punishment, who will go through a detox stage and 3/6 months in a drug-free facility/prison with counseling support systems, and then take it there. If you want to be aggressive/stern/in your help, depending on the crime/relapse make the patient/inmate take a drug test on their probation period, if they fail, back to “detox/prison. Detox is no joke, and I highly doubt addicts who are sent to prison stop using it. The goal would be to get them off their addiction, not get them high 24/7, chasing the dragon”
At least there’s a sense of hope for those lost souls. In that free access, no judgment/no impose view, well, not much light at the end of that tunnel, just an endless track down a path of pain, anguish, and nothingness. JS
On a happier note. My reference to Asians was because of the Out of China theory, All Asians are basically Chinese. 🙂 Differently in migration influence in early civilization too. I mean more the half fo the world’s population is Asian, They have been moving around, people 🙂
That being said, Bam, I am out of here. 🙂
Good luck wherever you travels take you.
But the problem is if you want to kick it you are out of luck.
There is no money set aside for rehabs, drying out, treatment. Nothing.
So just like the pusher, we’ll get you hooked but clean and sober is up to you.
Sylvester, back in the day when yoou would post on OIB you were way ahead o your time but as time has shown that you were right. The things you would post were just to deep for alot of readers.
As for Robert, he’s just using his critical race theory (CRT) traing in replying to you.
No, I am not using CRT training in my posts, using OIB as the best LSL class ever. 🙂
P.S you’re welcome. 🙂
All I’m saying is that, in my humble opinion, nearly a century of prohibition, interdiction and incarceration is a failed policy. We need to try something else
Hello, Jeff Kohut. Hello, Bob Walsh. It’s great to hear from old Bridgeport friends again. Also, many thanks to the other OIB commenters in this segment of where “to pry open the juicy stuff!” It’s always great to get the old political juices flowing again on this platform, and yes, Jeff…I remember that session you hosted and invited me to meet your Board of Directors…after the meeting I remember very, very clearly having a one-on-one chat with then Police Chief Rilling (now Mayor Rilling of Norwalk) and his deputy chief (and the deputy chief had a big smirk on his face the entire time!) trying to explain to them that it is possible for anyone/someone, like a teacher or lawyer or hair dresser or even “police officer” to have and manage a heroin addiction/dependence and still function and participate actively, competently, honestly for themselves, their family and community…I tried to explain that when I visited the (two) safe injection clinics in Frankfurt, in a group go 12, I saw a very well-dressed woman who work in one of the multi-national banks as a high-level executive, she calmly walked in the clinic with others, where they were greeted politely, she was given the standard “safe injection tray” with three clean syringes with different size needles, a candle, cooking spoon, alcohol swab, tourniquet, and a water bottle, she then took a seat to prepare her shot, then she injected herself under the discreet, watchful observation of medical professional and staff and other community volunteers the (12 clients sit in an L-shaped table with privacy dividers per 20 minute sessions). After a rest period, she got up, put on her jacket, thank everyone and went to work. The social worker in charge told me that later in the afternoon, she will return for her second dose before going home on the commuter train to cook dinner for her family (those Germans are still macho, women still do the cooking!), put the children to bed, then to rest for another day. This woman was a 5-year client at that point. The clinic was clean, quiet, with soft lighting and a very welcoming and efficient staff in a central part of the city. You did not have the free-for-all scene maybe that you can watch on the YouTube segment that Robert Texeira shared of the streets of Philadelphia of today(!) that is filthy, chaotic, out of control and miserable populated by aimless, obviously drug-dependent individuals who are just getting by, day after day, through a vicious cycle of filth, crime and predatory, unhealthy behaviors and actions. It does not have to be this way. But back to then Chief of Police Rilling, now Mayor Rilling, I was doubly heartbroken to read years later in the newspapers/internet news about his son being arrested as a 19-year veteran police officer of the Fairfield PD and what he was accused of…to think that life could have been different for all of us…final thought, to this day, I quietly wonder to myself why then Police Chief Rilling did not share with me that night that he was a fellow Navy shipmate. If I only knew then, maybe I would have change my attitude and behavior and tone towards him that fateful night and talk to him in a more straightforward “old Navy salt” language style like one seagoing squid to another.
But anyway, about my political future, those days are over, Jeff. Sadly and Happily. At my 96-year old mother’s urging, I finally gave in to her and applied for dual citizenship with the Philippines 4 years ago. I think that pretty much knocks me out of contention, as well as, for any chance of ever getting a security clearance for any future government work again. That’s why I’m off to go “Back to Sicily” with the children. And yes, Robert Texeira is right on the money again…it’s about retirement…I’m off to take on the challenge of living on social security checks and a small Navy pension in Bella Italia! Will it work? Stay tune on YouTube: “Back to Sicily” happy face emoji, happy face emoji. They say that now houses are being sold all over Sicily for only one Euro, that’s only about $1.25 American money. Sweet! We are all in!!!! A più presto, cari amici mia!
Please, “heroin addiction/dependence and still function and participate actively, competently, honestly for themselves, their family and community” If that was remotely true we wouldn’t be having this conversation, nor would there be a need to give it away for free at dispensaries.
Sylvester, you have a good memory. I will be lucky if I remember this conversation a week for now. Thank God for Mark Twine, right 🙂
However, while this is still fresh in my collective memory. I’m sorry, I am going to have to call bullshit. 🙂
Chris Rock summed it up best. I don’t have a drug problem, because I can afford it. Charlie Sheen doesn’t have a (society) drug problem, because he can afford it too. In fact, he’s “WINNING”
Unless an honest, open, meaningful conversation is to be had. It’s, not really part of a real substantive solution, and part of the problem.
Besides what about the war on drugs? No cocaine dispensaries? Then you really see some corporate America and executives lining up. 🙂
Pagpalarin ka sana, Sylvester! You’re a resourceful military man, and I’m sure that you’ll find a way to integrate “retirement” with your political/sane-social-policy altruistic pursuits… (Maybe enlist Manny Pacquiao to give your message some momentum… But navigating Philippine politics safely these days is almost as much of a challenge as navigating US politics… Ten Cuidado!…)
Regarding my former board, et al..: the pervasive unwillingness of people, at various levels of power to at least attempt to entertain a modicum of respect for other points of view is often predictive of failure(s) involving the professional and personal lives of those people down the road, as can be observed in regard to some of the members of your audience at that board meeting so many years ago.
But I’ll always be proud for respecting a different point of view in that regard, and having you there — even though I didn’t agree with you at the time… My mind has changed over the years as I saw the total lack of success of our War On Drugs — total mission failure, with the strategy actually adding fuel to the drug-abuse fire and increasing the social casualties while incubating and furthering vast, violent, criminal empires… Indeed; between all of the contraindicated political-military misadventures in Asia and the Middle East, post-WWII, and the half-century+ war on drugs, we could have financed some wonderful, life-asserting social/educational programs for our people while sparing other countries from so much slaughter and destruction…
Keep pushing your message Sylvester. I’m not into drugs or alcohol, and have felt, in the past — as I observed the human wreckage around me due to both — that both should be banned. But it is pretty obvious now that it is impossible and destructive to attempt to control the personal habits and indulgences of the masses in regard to any sort of absolute control of the individual. We can ban certain public behaviors and enforce such bans (e.g., cigarette smoking) once an educational process has affected the public thinking about the real need for such, but smoking will continue among the masses until such time as education has convinced the last smoker to stop wasting money and vitality… And so it goes for any vice that can be reduced to the level of purely personal indulgence… In the mean-time, all that we can do is try to humanely mitigate the damage done to society and the individual by the various vices (especially substance abuse) through education and pragmatic regulation such that the bests interests of society and the individual are harmoniously pursued…
In any event, the best of luck with all of your future endeavors, Sylvester. I hope to have the chance to have a lively political conversation with you again some time in the future…
Jeff, what changed your mind?
This so-called war on drugs and substance abuse/addiction treatment are two different things, in reality.
When you reach a stage where the government is going to supply heroin, a highly addictive drug substance to addicts, setting up shop in the most challenging/poorer cities like the Port, essentially becoming their drug dealers on the promise, it’s a mental illness/disease, and it will reduce crime, be wary.
The notion heroine dispensaries would put an end to a failed policy call the War on Drugs when in fact it could be considered a success, and the government won. But you have to ask, at what cost?
What was the failure/loss was the substance abuse prevention/treatment for addiction and the people who are addicts or will become addicted to it, I mean “spontaneously” become mentally ill and disease-stricken.
Once you go down the road of government providing/feeding/normalizing addicts/addiction in America, Those addicts, as well as future addicts, I mean those who will become mentally ill and disease-stricken, are written off by the government and society, and any attempt to break their chain of addiction is lost.
Gangs/Criminal Enterprises and illegal activities are not going anywhere because the government opens up shop of “treatment dispensaries/clinics” Drug dealing is not the only criminal activity. Opioids/heroin is not the only illegal drug being sold on the streets. Yet it’s the only drug that seems to be the point of discussion around this “ new radical” idea of government legalization/dispensaries. Which goes to my class/racial policy. Even then, 3 shots/injections a day, (that would be nothing more than a higher dose of methadone, IMO) at a cost of roughly $30,000 a year per “client/addict/patient, is not going to be enough to satisfy that Dragon. Not to mention, no addict/client/patient who has the money in hand is going to waste their time in line for a cheaper shot. We talk about overdose, Ironically, when word on the street hits that someone overdose. The addicts seek out the brand that caused it because they know it is the good shit.
Violence/Aggressiveness isn’t going anywhere either. Seemingly it couldn’t even be avoided at your BOD meetings on how to handle/treat the issues.
However, there are a few takeaways from heroin/opioids dispensaries.
A, It’s going to cost a tremendous amount of taxpayers’ money with no or little effect and no goal to stop it.
B, Substance abuse prevention/treatment programs to help break that chain of addiction/jail/wreckage (cure this mental illness/disease) are all but abandoned. Can say with any real meaning. We want to help you get clean, break that chain of addiction that has wreaked havoc on your life, your friends, and your family. Or we don’t want to prevent you from becoming mentally ill and disease-stricken.
Yet say, here’s your heroine/dope (Or here’s your standard “safe injection tray” with three clean syringes of different sizes needles, a candle, cooking spoon, alcohol swab, tourniquet, and a water bottle, to prepare your shot for injection under the discreet, watchful observation of a medical professional and staff. Your next shot is at noon. That Dragon is all set. So now you can go home cook dinner or play catch it with the kids, See you bright and early.) SMH
C, It will have no real effect on the illicit drug market. Since it only seems to be Heroin/opioids and part-time dealer, at best. Which makes it a class/racial policy in communities like the Port.
D, The war on drugs is over, and the borders are open, creating more supply, and cheapening the cost of drugs while increasing violence with all the new entrepreneurs” getting into the game because the government checked out. Which will eventually lead to a War on Drugs. Ironic, no?
Jeff, however, I am somewhat perplexed, Either you changed your mind, or it didn’t
“I’m not into drugs or alcohol and have felt, in the past — as I observed the human wreckage around me due to both — that both should be banned.
This is exactly what I am trying to say. One legal, legally accessible, not going to commit a crime to obtain it, has no bearing on the war on drugs/gang violence in communities, and the other, illegal, illegally accessible, generally committing crimes to obtain it, often leads to imprisonment, and is a factor/contributor in the war on drugs/gang violence.
Yet, both can create human wreckage. But to be fair heroine is a completely different beast than alcohol or weed. In fact, alcohol fits more into Sal’s encounter with that woman in Frankfurt. A drink in the morning, one for lunch, before you head home to cook dinner for the family and tuck the kids into bed. I don’t think anyone believes heroin is that kind.
Again, if the addicts/addiction/disease/mental illness just needed two hits, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and when on their merry way. We wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Jeff, once an educational process has affected public thinking that spending $30,000 a year per addict, to supply a fraction of their drugs needs to satisfy their addiction is a waste of money, with no goal to break someone’s chain of addiction/wreckage, or has any effect on the war on drugs, this conversation would be over.
At any rate, I stand my approach. A prison-like/professional/medical treatment facility with counseling/support, in and out. (my to cents) 6 month period with a real/complete detox 1-month detox period, 5 months clean/drug-free (Broken Chain) I would even encourage video gaming as recreation to try to get them addicted to that, get them hooked on something else.
You would be surprised by the role gaming plays in this conversation, Sometimes you just can’t see things, but is there. JS
This convo is a buzzkill. Jeff, it’s always a pleasure. Sylvester, enjoy Sicily.
For shits and giggles
The camera guy has no idea. 🙂
I’m out of here.
Well, there it is, 300 million from the legal/medical companies/industry for their contribution to that “war on drugs” and opioid/crisis and addiction.
My Two Cents.
Instead of traditional criminal prisons for drug addiction-related crimes/addicts. Outfit those closed prisons into prison/medical rehab treatment facilities. With a standard 6-month treatment plan inside and a 6-month probation/drug test outside, complete detox counseling/support in and out. (if they fail their drug test, back you go. until you get it complete the program. 🙂 Best you can really do, ultimate it’s up to the individual.
If you can get/keep a user clean for a year. They have a shot. Wanting to give it to them for free, they did have a chance in Hell.
instead of worrying about CRT being taught in schools, teach kids/students how additive/dangerous these drugs are, and how they actually alter your brain into a lifetime of dependence and everything else associated with being an addict. Based on my YouTube understanding/education, two shots, then off to function and participate actively, competently, honestly for themselves, their family, and community. I haven’t see seen that channel. Everyone channel I see was them losing their kids, home, and selling everything they have, including themselves.
As for the war on drugs, that’s a different game entirely. JS
Robert: The history of the War on Drugs, per the stats of addiction/abuse — in the face of the deflation of the price of essentially all “illegal” drugs over the course of that “war” — shows the “other side” is winning handily. Addiction to illicit substances is up, the prices of heroin and cocaine, et al., are at historic lows (because of the greater facility of supply due to the failure of interdiction to stem the flow of such drugs in the face of greater supply competition among suppliers to fill ever-increasing demand…)
The US is spending more to stem the flow of illegal drugs than the users are spending to obtain them, yet the US interdiction effort can’t compete with the supply efforts of the cartels — despite all of the high-tech surveillance and military/civilian personnel involved in the interdiction efforts. The US is afloat in the flood of illegal drugs despite our best efforts to stem that flow… No doubt, all of the hundreds of billions of $’s spent on illegal drugs in the US buys a lot of interdiction/enforcement complicity (BIG TIME $CORRUPTION$ at ALL levels…).
Just take a look at Connecticut cities — especially Bridgeport… Illegal dealing and usage have never been more prevalent. In the past couple of weeks two little bodegas in Bridgeport were busted for major dealing… The tip of the iceberg…
Yes: The life of the addict is miserable — as are the lives of those affected by that addiction.
But the life of a person caught up in “illegal” substance abuse is much more destructive to the addict and those around them than in “legal” substance abuse, as the addict is forced to pursue the dangerous, underground, criminal lifestyle that allows them to obtain and pay for their uncontrolled addiction even as they expose those around them to such dangers… (This is not to downplay “legal” addictions, e.g., alcohol, which also merits a much more serious look and treatment by society/government… All addictions are problematic at all levels, causing heartbreak and hardship for addicts and families/friends… But abuse of “illegal” substances brings a manifold magnification of addiction heartbreak/hardship, by virtue of its criminal, underground nature…)
If government abandoned the “war” on drugs and spent that money to provide treatment-on-demand for addicts (all addicts/alcoholics) wanting to kick their habit per readily available, medically-based treatment programs providing maintenance drugs/medications/therapeutic behavior modification (+ family therapy) to keep addicts off of the street, out of jail, and free and able to function at some productive level (in lieu of “kicking” the habit) — and not have to “deal and steal” to maintain their addiction — we would see much less human/societal “wreckage” resulting from drug addiction.
Addicts need to have shame-free support readily available to help them to control their addictions. The money spent on the failed War on Drugs could certainly be better spent on anti-drug education and professional, evidence-based, medical/behavioral treatment-on-demand programs designed to manage and obviate addiction and salvage families from the wreckage of addiction.
So, Robert: Drugs should be legalized per government-controlled availability/dispensing. Suppliers — at the wholesale and retail ends — would be regulated and taxed… Insurance would be required to pay for user medical treatment in taxable, private programs… Currently, money for presently “illegal” drugs goes to violent drug gangs which wreak further havoc on society (beyond the lifestyle off the addict) and cost the government huge public-safety and interdiction bucks.
Remember that definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome? Well; so goes the “War on Drugs”… A symptom that often accompanies serious brain injury, especially to the “executive,” thinking areas, “perseveration” — the ongoing repetition of an unproductive/contraindicated behavior. The US “War on Drugs” is governmental/societal “insanity”/perseveration, in this regard — a symptom of severe, destructive/counterproductive dysfunction…