Drugs have long been part of our culture, many if not all ancient civilizations used them in some way. Hallucinogenic mushrooms, Cacao leaves, the opium poppy, and many other variations. Their use though was usually linked to religious rituals rather than recreation. The use of narcotics is thousands of years old. Todays world is different, drug use has become a scourge of our society. From the illicit use of prescription pills to the ‘street’ drugs sold on street corners, they are everywhere.

Drug use thirty years ago seemed a problem that only infected the the inner cities of our large centers of population. That is no longer the case. I live in a small town in Mississippi, it is in a dry county, and has a church seemingly on every street corner. It is a town where they roll up the sidewalks at 5pm every day. Yet even here drugs are found. Several months ago I was talking to the owner of the local gas station when a young man came in and asked if they sold roses (not the flower kind). A rose only has one use, it is part of a crack pipe.

I spent 6 years working with the homeless in a large shelter, we were literally home to 1,100 souls. I have seen the ravages of drugs on human beings. People in their twenties that look in their fifties, the seizures, and the death. Anyone that thinks there is glamor in drugs is mistaken.

I have decided to run a series of articles on the subject of drug abuse in America and I am very pleased to announce that author Armando Aldazabal has agreed to assist me. Armando is the author of two very successful novels that revolve around drug use, What You Are Turning Me Into and Cocaine Memoirs. Although written as fiction Armando Aldazabal writes with authority on the subject. He has witnessed friends and family sink into the mire, he has witnessed the death of loved ones. Drugs not only effect the addict, but those around him or her.Sure, the war on drugs has been covered by many major news organizations, we however plan on taking the series in a different direction. We will be involving many perspectives, Law Enforcement, Addicts, the medical world, ex members of organized crime, yes we know one or two! In fact I was talking with Andrew DiDonato of Gambino fame recently, and he made a very interesting observation. In his mind America was a safer place when the mob ran the drug business. The mob had ethics, the street gangs of today do not. It is not quite so crazy as it first sounds!

The drug world is an ever changing one, and seems to increase in danger with every year. The unrefined natural drugs have largely been replaced by manufactured varieties. Crack labs are to be found everywhere, the ingredients can be obtained with ease and the manufacturing process, while dangerous, unfortunately is not a complex one.

I do not think that Armando and I can change the world, but if we can save one person then we have been successful. It is also true that the journey of a thousand miles does indeed start with a single step. I am looking forward to this project, and we have some great guests lined up. I am also looking for feedback from readers, if you have ideas or stories to share with us, please do so.

Simon Barrett

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