Disruption and Disdain Toward the Addict and the Alcoholic

Until the early 1900’s, addiction was regarded as a private personal matter and the government focused on other, more important matters like alcoholism. There were some drug laws that were only loosely enforced. Until the Pure Food and Drug Act n 1906, Opiates were sold in stores and used as miracle medical treatments. 
60% of Opiate users were middle to upper class white women. Then social perceptions shifted. Suddenly the Opioid use among highborn women became a threat to middle to upper class white men. 
Opium came to be considered a “yellow plague” after a tabloid article about Opium causing white women to sleep with Chinese men created a social and political panic. Opium was demonized and the already present bigotry toward Chinese Railway workers were exponentially. The same story was sold about Marijuana and black men in the 40’s and 50’s, after all what worked once would probably work again. I am very surprised they didn’t use the same story with Cocaine and Mexican men. Perhaps I just missed it . Drugs have historically been linked with race and class, immigrants and minorities have always made easy targets.  Addiction was harder to hide in urban area with high minority and immigrant populations, drugs and alcohol were easy to acquire. Social conditions were depressing and oppressive, creating an atmosphere full of pain that invited escape. Drugs and alcohol were the only pain treatments available and bad behavior was considered free public entertainment.  In the middle to upper class, alcoholics were disruptive, unsightly and caused an embarrassment. Spectacles were not socially accepted, appearances were everything and reputation was the most important form of capital. Inebriated people told stories they that were better kept in house. This concern lead to Prohibition which was later repealed.

Middle and upper class Addicts hide their vices more effectively and indulged in a quiet, descreet manner that Victorian society easily dismissed and ignored. Besides, many of the reformists used opium personally. When it began to become associated with Chinese railway workers and lower class vices, it became distasteful. After all, the middle to upper class had to be held to higher standards. The same was true of cursing, it was all the rage among the wealthy until vulgar commoners picked up the habit. 
The Pure Food and Drug Act od 1906 was supposed to put to rest the Americas opiate problem, but it didn’t. Around 1909, the softer view of addiction changed. Laws became sterner and people began viewing addicts and addiction in the same destainful manner as alcoholism.
American is now facing another dangerous Opioid epidemic and we are repeating the same mistakes that they did the first time. They didn’t solve the problem, they made it worse, are we?
Law enforcement is cracking down on addicts and drug users, most of which sit in jail because they can’t afford small bail amounts that they can’t afford. Police and judges don’t care why users use,  their sole interest is making sure that laws are obeyed and law breakers are caught and kept of the streets. 
If and when the law catches up with addicts who use illegal drugs or misuse prescribed ones, R3 can provide some cushion by providing communication, bail, commissary and transportation services. 
No one intends on getting arrested and when it happens, it is abrupt and unavoidable. R3 Members use their one call to call us then we call their significant others, other family members and friends as well as childcare providers and employers. 
We can only help if the accused are already members, so become a member before you are accused, or look out for the interests of someone you love and purchase an R3 Membership for them.

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