As a health professional, researcher with adolescent drug users/homeless, and educator for a year on a social unit for adolescents in conflict with the law - this conflict mostly for trafficking or use of narcotics, with the flagship crack, I share what I found in my experience with the "crack users" in recent years.
I believe there are moments and stages in our lives. I, for example, used drugs as a teenager and was not tainted as "drug addict" because what happened with me and the vast majority of teenagers from my generation was fleeting. I continued studying, working, and as many friends, experiencing my projects and ideas. The drug was like a moment of emotional, psychological mismatch between me and the world around me, a momentary escape.
But there are cases where the pain of living is so deep, so pervasive, that the individual becomes dependent on that stupor, that state that alleviates their suffering and there is a world of "travel" to make it softer. And the message to the family and society is that (s)he is sick. And the drug is the medium that is to ask for help... help, a suspension of the pain of being alive.
The crack addict seeks a suffering experience lower than that without the drug, a protection for their emotional and moral decay. Crack becomes the painkiller to face the day to day, because life is very hurtful, costly and difficult, even more so with integrity and dignity. Integrity, dignity: ... dysfunctional families, shacks sliding downhill, racial and social segregation, unemployment, empty cans, police violence, needs and excesses...
The young poor, black, slum dweller and the outskirts of the city is out of decent work conditions, is out of social spaces, is out of having, being someone, (s)he's out ... It is only within is the "movement" of the social centers and their link workers, aiding them.
The drugs were always used by all social classes, by rich and poor, but associated with minorities: opium for the Chinese, the Mexicans: marijuana, cocaine for blacks and squatters, crack... the wretched. Then this explains many arrests of poor and black persons.
We are heading for chaos and social situation is dramatic. These poor boys and girls with the fingertips yellowed by the use of crack, are nothing but the side effect of a silent society with the population living in slums and suburbs of large cities, surviving.... and they saw themselves as peddlers, traffickers, managers... mouths... prostitutes and many other "functions".
A dignified life is unfeasible due to this exclusionary system that instals - among others - young teens, poor and miserable people. There are plenty of laws, plans abound, what is lacking is serious policy debates. The speeches that I have heard about this problem are too simplistic and still sound as a tool for legitimizing social inequalities in conservative rhetoric and judgmental rhetoric, this merely demonstrates the irrational policy that criminalizes poverty and inferiority. The poor young blacks and then suffer twice: once by the hand of another state and the criminalization of social status and color.
In 1994, there were about 110 000 prisoners in Brazil. Today, that number is five times greater. I think it is due to a preventive policy that works for social conflict to look criminal. Confusing justice with punishment and punishment with deprivation of liberty and one cannot imagine what goes on inside prisons. This policy of arresting leads me to believe the image of the demonization of slum areas, the "great vector for incarceration of the poor." And users arrested, not given new opportunities, even when they are on probation, are left out.
We need to resume discussions about this matter more serious, less reactionary and electioneering.
Perhaps alternative sentences for small and medium-dealers, control over personal consumption, harm reduction for those who use crack and host in voluntary treatment is the beginning of a real discussion, not geared for the elite, but for those interested in modifying this sad picture that we are helping to sketch; our vision is clumsy, flawed, ignorant and selfish.
This crowd that is there in the streets, wandering like zombies, are nothing more than victims of schizophrenia in the modern era, this system that makes many kills and just enough of them.
I lived with them, "crack heads". I heard their stories, their pain, their neuroses, their cries, tears and despair. I saw their outbreaks, their insomnia, their outputs, their miseries, their relapses, their withdrawal, their sorrows and their deaths. I find the survivors of urban chaos and socially confused warriors who refused to ready the role that society has given them, Honestly ... I do not know if would do differently in their place ...
Translated by Timofey Belov
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