Last week I followed two stories in the news that shook me to my core. The first one was the picture that went viral on the Internet of a man and a woman in East Liverpool, Ohio who were completely unconscious in a car while driving with a four-year-old boy in the back seat.
According to the police officer, the driver said he was taking his passenger–the mother of the little boy–to the hospital because she had overdosed. The reality was that both, driver and the passenger, were turning blue and needed a shot of Narcan to reverse the deadly effect of heroin.
The second story was a chronicle published on Friday about Huntington, West Virginia, a town where 28 people overdosed in just five hours on August 15, 2016. This is the same town in which 1 of 10 babies are born addicted to heroin or opiates, and fight for their lives against NAS, the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome passed on to them by their mothers.
What caught my attention about these two stories was the nature of the narrators: the first responders and the neonatal nurses who deal with this heartbreaking reality 24/7 as if they were workers in an assembly line of human destruction. They are the anonymous heroes who work everyday to save lives of people who don’t want to be saved.
These professionals know these lost souls by name; they are the walking-dead who go through life destroying everything in their path, including innocent children who cannot choose their parents nor the lives they must live.
I commend the City of East Liverpool for publishing the pictures on their Facebook page, regardless of the backlash. People got offended and reacted to the images condemning the police department. I applaud them. Although the images were gruesome and revolting, they forced me to recognize the tragedy that is destroying so many communities across the US.
I even lost sleep thinking about the newborn babies who struggle with an unwanted addiction and imagine myself poisoning–intentionally or unintentionally–my own son’s soup. Isn’t that what these mothers are doing?
The communications industry continue to ignore this out-of-control calamity, and they manipulate the news cycle by focusing on issues that carry more votes for the upcoming presidential election, such as the recent New York bombings or the Zika virus in Florida.
Decades into the war against drug trafficking, the United States continues to put the blame on producing countries instead of controlling the high demand in the streets of America. For example, Colombia–my home country–has done everything to fight this evil at all cost. The people are willing to vote a referendum to legitimize the “Peace Deal” with the FARC guerrilla that will put the country on a silver platter for grabs, as long as they stop trafficking drugs to finance their terrorist campaign.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has spent almost a hundred million dollars on TV ads attacking Donald Trump during this campaign season–ten times more than the business mogul has spent against her. Sadly, not a dime has been spent on this issue. Couldn’t they maybe use some of that money to focus on this epidemic and get some votes in the effort?
The answer is no. Those states that are decaying under the drug addiction are already secured according to the polls. Elected officials, and those seeking office, don’t want to confront the elephant in the room; it is just too big and it would consume their agendas.
Negligence and economic interests from both political parties destroyed manufacturing in states like West Virginia–currently with the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the US–perpetuating dependence on the government and annihilating the dreams of families who want to escape poverty.
Soon enough another President will be elected and I am afraid nothing will improve. Meanwhile, the babies in the NICU will continue to live their lives between heaven and earth, because they were born cheating death, and more nurseries will have a changing table full of prescription bottles instead of formula bottles to deal with this innocent addiction.
Thanks for reading a sharing,