It’s a Societal Addiction Problem When It is White People

And a crime spree when they are black. The front page of my local tv station’s website has this taking up valuable real estate:


From the comments section below, this piece:

Thirty years later, America is again seeing an epidemic of drug addiction, particularly heroin. The surge is so great that for the first time in generations, mortality among young white adults has risen. But the national attitude toward drug addiction is utterly different. Even Republican presidential candidates are eschewing the perennial tough-on-drugs speeches and opening up about struggles within their own families.

More important, police chiefs in the cities most affected by heroin are responding not by invoking military metaphors, weapons and tactics but by ensuring that police officers save lives and get people into rehab. As one former narcotics officer described his change of heart on addiction, “These are people and they have a purpose in life and we can’t as law enforcement look at them any other way.” In his inability to name the change that allowed this epiphany, his words also capture our cringe-worthy self-denial. Suddenly, police officers understand crime as a sign of underlying addiction requiring coordinated assistance, rather than a scourge to be eradicated.

It is hard to describe the bittersweet sting that many African-Americans feel witnessing this national embrace of addicts. It is heartening to see the eclipse of the generations-long failed war on drugs. But black Americans are also knowingly weary and embittered by the absence of such enlightened thinking when those in our own families were similarly wounded. When the face of addiction had dark skin, this nation’s police did not see sons and daughters, sister and brothers. They saw “brothas,” young thugs to be locked up, rather than “people with a purpose in life.”

To be clear, no one laments the violence that the “crack bomb” set off in inner cities more than African-Americans. But while shootings, beatings and robberies cannot be tolerated anywhere, the heroin epidemic shows that how we respond to the crimes accompanying addiction depends on how much we care about the victims of crime and those in the grip of addiction. White heroin addicts get overdose treatment, rehabilitation and reincorporation, a system that will be there for them again and again and again. Black drug users got jail cells and “Just Say No.”


One of the most eye-opening things for me was about 20 years ago when it was pointed out to me in a class how in every crime tv show or movie from my youth, the villains were almost always black. The days of Charles Bronson and Dirty Harry and Hill Street Blues and Bernie Goetz. Today of course, we have progressed. They’re mainly Muslim.

76 replies
  1. 1
    chopper says:

    white people are the worst thing that ever happened to this world.

  2. 2
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Perhaps this is a good thing. Now that it’s a problem for Whites, Blacks may get some attention about our issues with drug addiction as well.

    Trying to be optimistic here.

  3. 3
    singfoom says:

    This is/was a horrible tragedy. The war on drugs has literally been a war on our Republic’s most vulnerable citizens. It is bullshit, through and through. The fact that now it’s white suburban teenagers and that makes it a crisis is a horrible reminder of the giant divide.

    That said, there are plenty of people who have been saying the drug war was/is bullshit for years. Problem was that there was no one for those people to vote for to change the laws because ALL the politicians of all political persuasions disagreed.

    Then you add in the financial bullshit benefits that police departments got from being part of the war on drugs and it’s a horrible self-perpetuating system. Here’s to the death of the drug war someday soon!

  4. 4
    Kathleen says:

    I’m glad you FP’d rikyrah’s comment, John. The difference in attitude, while sadly not really surprising is still galling. Couple that with the contrast between how armed white militias and African Americans are treated both by media and police and I wonder how anyone can question why African Americans have a right to be angry. As Marvin Gaye said in Inner City Blues, “Makes me want to holler and throw up both my hands.”

  5. 5
    Kathleen says:

    @singfoom: Yes, along with the thriving private prison industrial complex.

  6. 6
    jl says:

    @Patricia Kayden: We can all dream. I hope against hope this dream will come true.

    Edit: but many right thinking white people’s brains have not exploded yet from the grating and obvious inconsistency, so that is a bad sign.

  7. 7
    Archon says:


    If a bunch of black radicals had did what the Bundy crowd did conservatives would have called for drone strikes.

  8. 8
    blueskies says:

    White person carrying food from flooded store after Katrina: foraging for supplies to save his family.

    Black person carrying food from flooded store after Katrina: thug stealing beer, taking advantage of a tragedy, appropriately shot dead by police before he could get around to raping the white women while the husband was out foraging.

    Rinse. Repeat.

  9. 9
    rikyrah says:

    uh huh

    uh huh

    And, you wonder why folks like me just purse the lips and shrug the shoulders.

    I’m not as cold as – lock them up.

    I’m almost bitter enough to be that cold.

    But, I wish you all had had your come to Jesus moment when we were on our FIRST generation of Young Black Men as fodder for the Prison Industrial Complex.

    and now, we’re on our THIRD.

    I look at muthaphuckas setting up Pot “Empires”

    While Black folks arrested and convicted for possession of pretty much nothing being BANNED from participating in this now ‘ legal’ industry.

    Listening to these muthaphuckas in LAW ENFORCEMENT singing this tune…..I’m like, really? seriously?


    Like I wrote above..I don’t wanna sound bitter…because I’ve SEEN the destruction of addiction and what it can do…

    But, the empathy spigot is damn near empty.

  10. 10
    Guachi says:

    My wife and I love crime/lawyer/murder mystery shows. From Perry mason in the fifties to ncis today.

    White people, especially in older shows, are overwhelmingly the criminals, victims, and stars of the show.

    I don’t know what TV shows you are talking about that would constitute most of television.

  11. 11
    singfoom says:

    @Kathleen: Ah yes, I forgot that part. I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s horrified that the words “Private Prison” even exist in our lexicon.

    Fare warning to all that head over to the NYTimes article. The comments are 80% awful.

  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    And yet there are substantial differences between 30-40 years ago and now, other than the skin color of heroin users. I lived in NYC during the Bernie Goetz era, and my kids live there now. It is a different city. Violent crime is down to a huge degree, and I doubt violent crime is up by a corresponding degree in West Virginia or wherever the oxy-addicted heroin users come from these days.

  13. 13
    Kathleen says:

    @Archon: Yup. And Wolf Blitzer would yammer about “black on black” crime blah blah blah.

  14. 14
    dedc79 says:

    One of the most eye-opening things for me was about 20 years ago when it was pointed out to me in a class how in every crime tv show or movie from my youth, the villains were almost always black. The days of Charles Bronson and Dirty Harry and Hill Street Blues and Bernie Goetz. Today of course, we have progressed. They’re mainly Muslim.

    I was not aware that the villains in crime tv shows today are mainly muslim. Or maybe you just meant action movie villains?

  15. 15
    trollhattan says:

    I have no snark to give. Two weekends ago we buried my wife’s young cousin, who she once babysat with his twin brother. I played Risk with the boys on our livingroom floor. Now one is dead, in all likelihood of a heroin overdose (coroner’s report pending). Last August we lost my best friend’s older son and my backpacking partner to counterfeit (a prescription sedative I’m certain I can’t type here). He was a recovering addict who switched to heroin from the more expensive Oxy, kicked those, detoxed from the Suboxone, and had just celebrated his 23rd birthday and earning his associate’s degree in computer science..

    I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I have no answers. I just know I’m unwilling to reduce it to race.

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    This was in yesterday’s STL Post Disgrace: Heroin’s youngest addicts are dying in high school The head line pic? 3 white teens.

  17. 17
    singfoom says:

    @trollhattan: My sympathy for you and your family and those you have lost.

  18. 18
    Cacti says:


    If a bunch of black radicals had did what the Bundy crowd did they’d all be dead as doornails.


  19. 19
    catclub says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Violent crime is down to a huge degree,

    Yes. Really. 50 year lows.

    Paging Kevin Drum lead poisoning studies.

  20. 20
    Kathleen says:

    @Archon: Yup. And Wolf Blitzer would yammer about “black on black” crime blah blah blah. @trollhattan: My condolences to you and your family. A friend’s son who was a heroin addict committed suicide. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child or any loved one.

  21. 21
    Guachi says:

    Also, about as many blacks commit murder as whites. So if current TV were an accurate representation, there would be as many black murderers in TV shows as white murderers on TV.

  22. 22
    Petorado says:

    There’s no more sure a sign of the nation’s opioid crisis than when ads related to it appear during the Super Bowl … for treating symptoms but not the disease.

    The White House criticized a pharmaceutical industry ad airing during Sunday’s Super Bowl, saying it could help fuel an opioid addiction crisis … the over-prescribing of powerful painkillers like oxycodone is a root cause of the prescription drug abuse — which in turn has helped fuel the heroin epidemic.

  23. 23
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @trollhattan: My sympathy to you and your family and friends. It’s hard when they die so young, of a treatable disease that’s too seldom treated.

  24. 24
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @trollhattan: It’s not easy. A way back when I lost a number of friends to drugs and their side effects. Anything else I might say would come across as very cold and unfeeling, so I’ll only say hang in there.

  25. 25
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Cacti: They would not have survived 36 hours had they been black or brown. It’s shameful, and it’s shameful that so many in this society have only noticed the horrors of addiction now that it’s white people dying. I can’t even talk rationally about it today.

  26. 26
    beltane says:

    White people have been dying from addiction for a long time. The standard response was to pretend it didn’t happen. Not sure what’s different now.

  27. 27

    Yes. I wish I had any argument to make on behalf of whites, but I don’t.

  28. 28
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Shit, if one twelve year old black kid with a toy gun did it, he’d be dead in two seconds.

    Oh wait.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    I appreciate folk’s kind thoughts. Have discovered to my surprise that instead of getting “tougher” with age, these intimate tragedies have a cumulative effect on me. I’m more gutted with each funeral because the wounds don’t scar over. It’s not something I’ve been able to communicate to my 14YO, but she’s been taking stock in her own way.

  31. 31
    WereBear says:

    I believe the rise of the drug culture has created its own antibodies.

    Once upon a time, it was easy to sell something like Reefer Madness, but now, when several generations have seen drug use and mis-use among their peers and relatives, a much more nuanced view is not just possible, but widespread, and also very much past due.

    I see it as a hangover from the religious culture of America; the people who brought us Prohibition. Everyone admits that is a mistake. Why can’t they admit that alcohol is just another drug?

    And change our drug policy accordingly?

  32. 32
    WereBear says:

    @beltane: White people have been dying from addiction for a long time. The standard response was to pretend it didn’t happen. Not sure what’s different now.

    In the 1950’s, a joint nearly ruined Robert Mitchum’s career. Now? It barely makes the headlines.

    Shifts have been happening. As always, stupidly slowly.

  33. 33
    Steve from Antioch says:

    It’s possible that the tough criminal justice measures (such as three strikes, mandatory minimums, etc.) were fueled by a reaction to the increased crime rate, rather than a purely racist motivation.

    Despite the apparent increase in the abuse of heroin/oxy/etc. among white folks, the violent crime rate has been steadily decreasing over the same period. (Though there is an uptick ongoing now in some cities, apparently.)

    I’m guessing that if there were (more) ongoing turf wars among street-level heroin dealers across the country, the reaction would be a different.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    News flash!

    White people discover that the rules they make work in their favor…

  35. 35
    Waldo says:

    @beltane: I think what’s different is how the problem is being characterized in the media: Naive white folks unknowingly hooked on opioids after being overprescribed by well-meaning doctors. Could happen to anyone. Even nice white people.

  36. 36
    jl says:

    @trollhattan: my condolences, hang in there.

    @WereBear: The problem is the white racist rump of the US will mindlesly hang on to its prejudices, no matter what the evidence. I see on TPM blog front page that LePage grew so frustrated that everyone did not cheer on his transparent race-baiting that he came out and said in almost these exact words “Yeah, of course I meant black were coming up here and ruining good white people, I had to spread the alarm! What is wrong with you people?’ And Nugent has gone on some incoherent deranged anti-Semitic rant about the Jew Nazis behind gun control.

    This kind of mindless racist BS is baked into the minds of a lot of white people, GOP cynically manipulates it. And it is running and ruining too much of this country. It is going to be a very slow, generations long fight to defeat it.

  37. 37
    jl says:

    @WereBear: What is different now is that the problem cannot be ignored any more. What is the same is the same mindless racism dominates how too many white people think about it.

  38. 38

    That dirty rat fucker Nixon RatFucked the entire nation for 2 goddamned generations…for Political Power

    “John Ehrlichman, Counsel and Assistant to President Nixon:

    The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar Left, and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

  39. 39
    Brachiator says:

    @Steve from Antioch:

    It’s possible that the tough criminal justice measures (such as three strikes, mandatory minimums, etc.) were fueled by a reaction to the increased crime rate, rather than a purely racist motivation.

    Unfortunately, race is still a factor. Whites get probation, diversion, the benefit of character references, shorter sentences when compared to nonwhite people.

    With some drug crime, to be fair, there is a “be careful of what you ask for” issue at play. Some activists wanted harder action to deal with crack cocaine. Part of the result was to see more harsh prosecution for having crack cocaine vs powder cocaine, which in turn created harsh disparities in the prosecution of white people compared to blacks and Latinos.

  40. 40
    jl says:

    @Brachiator: To be fairer, I think, is that what we see is the consequences of science-denial with US policy towards addictive and habit forming drugs. Similar to climate change. Leads to tragedy.

  41. 41
    Germy says:

    Ohio BLM Activist MarShawn McCarrel II Commits Suicide Outside Statehouse

  42. 42
    Betty Cracker says:

    @trollhattan: Condolences to you. A high school friend of mine recently lost her young son to a heroin OD. There just aren’t words.

  43. 43
    D58826 says:

    You just have to have the right victim. It isn’t always black vs white, even though that is usually the case. Saint Ronulus the Unprepared and his lady didn’t care about HIV until their friend Rock Hudson when public. And Nancy didn’t give to hoots about drugs until a black basketball player died of an over dose. All star black athletes are considered honorary whites, at least some time, (Cam Newton being an exception)

  44. 44
    Peale says:


    James’s parents described him to the TV station as an outdoorsman and harmless prankster, adding that he viewed famous crocodile hunter and conservationist Steve Irwin as an idol.

    Thank goodness Jabberjaw had gone off the air long before this impressionable lad was born.

  45. 45


    The standard response was to pretend it didn’t happen. Not sure what’s different now.

    The problem has gotten too big to ignore, that’s what. The rate of death do to overdose has more than doubled since 2000, and it’s something like 8-10 times higher than it was back in the 1980s. And almost all the increase has been among whites, so the rate has gone up even faster among the population the media pays the most attention to. That will get people’s attention.

  46. 46


    Assault with a deadly weapon: Florida man charged with throwing alligator into Wendy’s

    He should have been charged with cruelty to animals.

  47. 47
    Germy says:

    @Roger Moore:

    He should have been charged with cruelty to animals.

    Well, he didn’t throw it into a Chipotles.

  48. 48
    Marc says:

    The Black Congressional Caucus strongly supported harsh criminal penalties for drug use. Crime rates tripled during the 90s, and members of the AA community were disproportionately victims of crime from addicts.

    Now we’re rewriting history to make it fit with our beliefs. The wave of incarceration was deeply wrong and deadly for inner city communities, but people in those communities were suffering the worst of the crime wave and were loud voices for those tactics. The bad consequences only became apparent later.

  49. 49
    ruemara says:

    @Germy: oh god. That’s what happened. I only read a few RIPs on Twitter.

    I dunno. It does seem so hopeless sometimes.

    And certain allies are making sure we know that what we’ve gone through is so… common.

  50. 50
    Sherparick says:

    @Guachi: There was a shift of TV in the late sixties and seventies. Because the thing is if you look at 1950s to mid-sixties TV, Black people, except as servants and comic foils, did not exist on American TV until the mid-sixties. And initially, the producers decided on positive role models (ironically now, Bill Cosby on “I Spy” as an American secret agency supporting Robert Culp was one of the earliest TV leads). Urban crime TV in the seventies and eighties featured both Black and Hispanic criminals, but I think there was still a fair amount of white perpetrators). (One of the best, the prelude to the Kojack series, was Abby Mann’s 1973 TV movie about the actual framing of a young black man for a double murder. Mann developed the project as a gritty police procedural, but with a subtext focusing on institutionalized prejudice and the civil rights of suspects and witnesses. The result was the 1973 made-for-TV movie, The Marcus-Nelson Murders. (The opening and closing titles of the film emphasized the point that it was a fictional account of the events that led to the creation of Miranda rights by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966. Selwyn Raab’s book Justice in the Back Room also provided Mann with some of his inspiration for the story of The Marcus-Nelson Murders, and the series subsequently included a credits reference to having been “suggested by a book by Selwyn Raab.” The Kojack series was developed from the TV movie. The movie was based on an actual case, the Wylie-Hoffert murders.)

    From my memories of the time, I actually think it was the newspapers and local TV “Eyewitness News” shows, as well general panic of white flight during those years, that created the image of the “Black criminal threat.” There was also a fair amount of working class white heroin addiction, particularly soldiers coming back from Vietnam and I remember they received a relatively punitive response then rehabilitation response. Nevertheless, in ultimate response to heroin, cocaine, and Marijuana in the late sixties and early seventies, Nixon started the “War on Drugs,” and the weight of enforcement fell on minority communities as jobs were leaving the area. But both Nixon and LBJ also saw the mass incarceration of the drug war as means of social control in response to the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements, particularly of the African American population.

  51. 51
    Glenn Greenway says:

    When you depend on the sale of Afghan heroin to pay for your foreign policy, you may see skyrocketing rates of heroin consumption at home.

    Two opium wars waged by our close ally Great Britain in the 19th Century against China and in the 20th, our alliance with the Kuomintang, the so-called’Free Chinese’ who created the golden triangle heroin plantation, our clandestine support of heroin producer Turkey in the days after WWII, the Vietnamese War heroin glut, the illegal war with Nicaragua which coincided with the devastation of the crack epidemic – just 35 year ago or so…

    I know it sounds all LaRouche but it sure looks like just another historical repetition of drug sales as an implement of foreign policy. When I learned about all the junk coming out of Afghanistan after my community here in Western Pa began seeing overdose death after death in 2001 and 2002. In those days I naively referred to the local powder as Bush White, but BHO has been overseeing this bonanza for going on another eight years….

    Not long ago we had a bust here locally, four kilos of pure product; a little over eight pounds, said to be worth $800,000 or so. Now consider the one and a half million pounds or so of pure product produced yearly in Afghanistan. Exclusively American air power, every poppy plain as day on American satellite and drone imagery, photo after photo of American military personnel walking though fields of flowers that kill their brothers and sisters, their very children.

    It’s got to stop. Enough with using the sales of heroin or cocaine to pay for delusional foreign policy! It’s now to the point where every time some poor American gets busted for weed, another two pounds of pure product gets shot into the arm of the global drug trade, almost certainly facilitated by America agencies.

    I’m lucky in this regard. My daughter survived. I’m sorry for the losses experienced by others.

  52. 52
    Taylor says:

    If you look at the early seasons of Law and Order, in retrospect it is stunning that almost every AA on the show (1) lives in the ghetto and (2) is a crack addict.

    They had an AA in the DA’s office. They made a big deal of him getting out of the ghetto.

    Albert Popwell was the bank robber that Harry out-bluffs at the beginning of Dirty Harry. He was the pimp with the drano (and the pink Cadillac!) in Magnum Force. In The Enforcer, he was a Black Power activist. In Deep Impact, he played a cop colleague of Harry’s. I wondered if this last was Eastwood’s way of apologizing for the stereotypical roles in earlier films.

  53. 53
    WereBear says:

    Also, the “meth epidemic” is fueled, in part, by the necessity of having two or three jobs to stay alive. Stimulants as economic necessity.

  54. 54
    fuckwit says:

    I heard the same story from Black folks during the Occupy days. It was like, “where the fuck have these white college kids been?” Income inequality has been a problem for the African-American community for hundreds of years and it hasn’t gotten much better. But now that white people are finding themselves without opportunity and on the outside looking in, they’re getting mad and getting organized.

    I think if I were black I’d be more disgusted than grudgingly hopeful, but probably a bit of both.

    In any case, I hope these problems finally get fixed. And, my apologies for my race having been such assholes for so many centuries.

  55. 55
    Germy says:

    @ruemara: A shame that 23 year old man had to experience so much despair.

  56. 56
    Germy says:

    It’s a Societal Addiction Problem When It is White People

    And it becomes a highly-publicized societal addiction problem when a white celebrity O.D.s

  57. 57
    Keith G says:

    @Roger Moore: Cajun “popcorn”. Yummy.

  58. 58
    Seanly says:

    What? Heroin has never been a problem among us white folks. Larry Clark’s Tulsa was all make believe. I dreamed up aal of those mid-80’s & early-90’s “oh no, our precious smart white kids are OD’ing on heroin” stories when I was going to college & living the in the Eastern PA & Northern NJ area.

    Someone has been buying drugs for the last 80 years, but it wasn’t all us bored white kids.

    Thankfully, my imaginary drug use was limited to marijuana and maybe a little speed oh so long ago.

  59. 59
    scav says:

    Note also that is in no way seen as a failure of White, often Rural, Culture (let alone parents) that their children are drug addicts, criminals, or that many families are living on welfare. No, it’s that foreigners are stealing their jobs, parents are unable to prevent the larger culture from being shoved down their throats, blah blah blah.

  60. 60
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    (I haven’t read all the comments yet.)

    It seems like the popular press has to have some sort of American medical crisis in the news every few years. In the ’60s it was heroin, in the late ’70s and early ’80s it was crack and herpes, in the ’80s and ’90s it was AIDS, in the 2000s it was meth, and now it’s heroin again.

    Heroin is bad and I have great sympathy for those suffering from addiction to it, and for those families and friends suffering though the problems caused by it. It’s horrible.

    But it’s not uniquely horrible.

    We should stop and think before devoting some grand new federal program to just addressing heroin or heroin and other opiates. We should address the problem of addiction as a whole. And sexually transmitted diseases as a whole. Etc. Panicking that heroin is going to Destroy America If We Don’t Address it Right Now Because White People Are Addicts Too™ just invites all sorts of unintended consequences.

    Meth was and is a problem in rural (predominantly white) areas too, AFAIK. It is hard for me to feel that they’re less deserving of help than suburban kids who have discovered opiates. Politicians who have family members with addiction problems can rightly drive national interest and attention, but they shouldn’t get exclusive attention to their particular causes.


    My $0.02.


  61. 61
    rikyrah says:


    Stephen Wolf ‏@PoliticsWolf 5h5 hours ago
    % of blacks who can’t vote due to felon voting bans:

    FL 23%
    KY 22
    VA 20
    TN 19
    WY 18
    AL 15
    MS 14
    NV 13
    AZ 11

    Total 8%

  62. 62
    Taylor says:


    Black people, except as servants and comic foils, did not exist on American TV until the mid-sixties. And initially, the producers decided on positive role models

    In Star Trek TOS, the most brilliant computer scientist in the federation is AA (Daestrom).

    The next example is Joe Morton in Terminator II, 25 years later.

  63. 63
    Oatler. says:

    It’s always been Evil Hippies. See any episode of Dragnet, Mod Squad, Mannix, etc.

  64. 64
    Kathleen says:

    @Taylor: I got a kick out Lenny Briscoe when, describing the suspect in the crime to Lt. Van Buren, he’d sometimes say”the convenient Black Guy” or “convenient Hispanic” if he doubted the victim’s account.

  65. 65
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Here in my upscale suburb of Atlanta (hi, JPL!), we have had three kids that I know and who have been to my house OD on heroin in the last two years. So hopefully the drug war will be redirected into something actually helpful as rich kids start dying. Man it’s awful that that is what it takes….

  66. 66
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Taylor: Also, Daystrom isn’t a plaster saint; he’s a flawed, tragic character, for reasons having nothing to do with blackness or stereotypes thereof (he’s the aging scientific wunderkind consumed with fear that he’s past his prime). It’s a great role and William Marshall makes the most of it.

    But he’s an exception that proves the rule.

  67. 67
    dedc79 says:

    Edited: whoops, wrong thread

  68. 68
    trollhattan says:

    Do recall Peter Boyle’s “Joe”? It was literal war on hippies. Per the Wiki page

    When Peter Boyle saw audience members cheering the violence in Joe, he refused to appear in any other film or television show that glorified violence.

    For anybody surprised at Trump’s reception.

  69. 69
    trollhattan says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m doubtful anybody’s life is completely untouched by these tragedies. It’s just when it’s someone you may have held as an infant, the pain seems immersive.

  70. 70
    SiubhanDuinne, Annoying Scoundrel says:

    @Germy: Connie Schultz posted about this on FB. One line from the linked article was wrenching: “‘My demons won today. I’m sorry,’ the activist, who recently attended the NAACP Image Awards, posted on his Facebook page about 3 p.m., just hours before his body was found.”

    Fucking demons.

  71. 71
    Plantsmantx says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Are you saying that looking at black addicts differently is warranted?

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:


    This this this this this. Trying to reduce heroin addiction while ignoring other life-destroying addictions is pointless.

    We also need better studies about addiction and treatments other than sending people off to amateur group therapy (aka 12 step). We still have a great aversion to letting people get as much talk therapy as they need because it’s expensive, but study after study after study shows that medication is helpful in relieving symptoms, but doesn’t do much to help people get back on their feet and participate in society. It’s talk therapy that helps people repair their lives and keep moving forward. Pills don’t teach skills, and all that.

    We also need much, much better mental health and learning disability screening for minority and low-income communities. My niece and nephew’s father wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar disorder (and severe ADHD) until he was almost 40, and he first went to jail in his teens. Ironically, he’s lucky to have spent most of his adult life in prisonl, because his three brothers all died young of drug overdoses. But, hey, they’re a black family from the west side of Chicago, so why would Those People need mental health care, amirite?

  73. 73
    Plantsmantx says:

    @Waldo: You noticed that too, huh? Somehow, all the white people who are caught up in this heroin addiction epidemic were put on the path to that addiction by chronic pain problems. Somehow, those people who used to travel to Florida to obtain bulk quantities of opioids to sell back home only sold them to people with chronic pain. There were no recreational users. Right. Look at this “Vox explainer”. It indulges in the same kind of ethnocentric self-delusion that Paul LePage indulges in.

  74. 74
    Peale says:

    @Plantsmantx: I’m sure those pain problems evolved from over exertion at work.

  75. 75
    Gvg says:

    You know, I disagree. I have watched white drug addicts around me and in popular culture for decades and it was always considered a problem. How people reacted to it viewing them as criminal losers or tragic victims always seemed to depend on the character of the viewer, family or neighbor. There were always the contemptuous ones (assholes) and the sympathetic, same as it always was. The white addict has never been invisible that I have seen.
    I will grant that it’s always been a big tendency to otherwise blacks and easy TV and movies go with the easy stereotype.
    I have not heard there was a current increase in OD’s but it could be.
    I do think one thing that is making a change in people’s opinions is the huge shocking numbers of imprisioned and the uselessness of it. It keeps coming up.
    It seems sort of shocking to me that many of you think whites haven’t been noticed as dying of OD’s until recently. It was taken for granted in my nice middle class high school. I graduated in 81. I have always heard it was still happening. some. Not lots, but always there. Also rich private schools were always rumored to have more of it than middle class. I would also say that the rural meth addiction issue is certainly looked at as a sign of trash and poor parenting. That may be unfair but whiteness does not confer imunity

  76. 76
    Jado says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    /start snark

    Sorry. It’s different when the perp is white. See, what happens is that the poor, misguided white person starts out with a back injury, or something similar, and they get hooked on painkillers. And then when they can’t get enough pills from their doctors, they start to self-medicate with street drugs like heroin. And it’s a huge tragedy, and we need to sympathize and work to get these poor victims of society into treatment and recovery so they can re-enter society again.

    When the perp is black, they intentionally commit crimes to pay for their willful use of drugs. Cause black people can never be “addicted” to drugs – they intentionally choose to do drugs, and they intentionally choose to commit crimes to pay for those drugs because they are lazy welfare queens or young bucks sprinkling the heroin on their t-bone steaks.

    If you are white, it is a disease. How sad; we will help you however we can

    If you are black, it is a choice. Up against the wall and spread ’em, before we shoot you dead

    If you are latino, you shouldn’t even be IN this country – go back where you came from, wetback.

    If you are asian, we can’t understand your language, so we don’t even know what you are doing. So, as long as you restrict it to Chinatown and no white people are involved, you can do whatever you like.

    If you are Native American, shut up and get back on the rez, Cochise, before we decide to steal that from you as well.

    America, F**k Yeah. Makes me so proud

    /end snark

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