Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I remember when I first heard about drugs. I’m not talking about the drugs your doctor administers when you are sick, but instead the drugs that are sold on the streets and shot up in dark alleys and flop houses. Understand, this was the fifties and drugs had not become the huge problem they are today. I was naive, of course. It occurred to me that only a moron would give themselves a shot when they didn’t have to. I thought nobody was that stupid. Well I was wrong. It turns out that many, many people are that stupid.

Like you I have had a lot of injections. That’s what the medical profession prefers to call shots. I have had injections for sickness as well as when I traveled to Europe and to Asia, and now regularly for flu and other maladies. I cannot say that there was ever a time when I enjoyed an injection. I feel sorry for those people who must give themselves injections for diabetes and other diseases.

But this column is not about the drugs that are legally administered. This column is about the illegal drugs that are a cancer on our society. Just recently actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died with a needle in his arm on his bathroom floor. Today, as I write this piece, the coroner has ruled his death as accidental. I have a few questions.

I doubt that Hoffman intended to take his life on that particular evening. In fact he had probably given himself that same combination of drugs before and gotten away with it. But he, along with countless others who have experimented with illegal drugs, died because of their actions. My question is, is this really accidental?  Really? An accidental death caused by an accidental overdose of illegal drugs? Time and again we hear of people who have died because of their dependence on illegal drugs. Are these accidents? Or are these just a way that nature adjusts the gene pool and culls out those who would further weaken the pool?

In the so-called “lesser animal kingdom,” when a particular animal doesn’t conform to the realities of their breed, they are often culled by their peers or just by nature herself. An example is the occasional albino animal who doesn’t survive primarily because of their inability to camouflage themselves. Nature deals with these abnormalities in a harsh but effective way. Such is life.

Did Marilyn Monroe die of an accidental overdose? How about Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix, or so many of the others who took themselves out at very young ages? Were these all accidents?

I doubt that any one of them ever was forced to stick a needle in their arms and inject the poison that was bought on the street from who knows whom. So, when they do, is this an accident or is it just accidental suicide?

I feel sorry for their loved ones and their fans. I feel sorry for the families they leave behind. I feel sorry for those who try to understand what went wrong. I even feel sorry for a coroner who must try to determine a cause of death. Is this an accident or is it just suicide? And what is the responsibility of the drug dealer who sold the drugs to these people? Did he commit murder? Yes, I do indeed have questions.   

Some are “hooked” they say. They can’t help themselves. Sadly, for all of them, it is just a matter of time before they join all the others who “couldn’t help themselves.” The rest of us will be left with the mess to clean up. We will watch as nature cleanses her gene pool. It just doesn’t seem like an accident to me.

Ron Scarbro

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