Sign recently spotted on NYC mass transit

To set the record straight: I did not personally see this ad, but I saw an article that posted a picture of this ad.

I know it’s not a great picture, so for those of you who can’t make out what this poster says, I’ll give the basics:

“Don’t be ashamed you are using, be empowered that you are using safely”

Fyi- the thing they are talking about is heroin. You should be empowered because you are using heroin safely.

You should be empowered because you are using heroin safely?

You should be EMPOWERED because you are using heroin safely???

EMPOWERED?

EMPOWERED??

Ok- let’s think about all the strives we’ve made:

  1. Math shouldn’t have correct answers because it’s unfair to people who don’t know them
  2. Dr. Suess is bad
  3. We can no longer say minority shareholder
  4. Taking heroin is OK as long as you take it with a friend and you take turns

You can clearly see how we’ve made things much better for everyone.

I am so proud that we’ve established these things in the new century.

Next time you send out prayers, next time you write a righteous post about how bad politicians are, next time you argue with someone over the use of a word, here’s a gentle reminder of you much you’ve helped the youth of today: we banned nursery rhymes and made it so real estate agents can’t say master suite…

WE ARE THE PROBLEM

Go look at yourself in the mirror, or take a selfie, and admit that you have contributed to screwing up the youth of this country.

When did we go from “drugs are bad and you should avoid them to “start with a small dose and go slowly”?

START WITH A SMALL DOSE AND GO SLOWLY?

START WITH A SMALL DOSE AND GO SLOWLY??

HAVE NALOXENE ON HAND?

TEST YOUR DRUGS?

HAVE WE JUST TOLD KIDS IT’S Ok TO TAKE HEROIN AS LONG AS YOU TEST IT AND HAVE A DRUG BUDDY?

CONGRATULATIONS. WE HAVE FAILED THE YOUTH OF AMERICA.

Next time you go to complain about what someone else is or isn’t doing, take a good hard look at what YOU are doing to help empower kids and young adults the RIGHT way. Make sure the things you are doing actually matter in making strong, confident youth.

We are the problem. Say it. I dare you to take blame and responsibility for the ongoing crisis in the world. It’s is only when we all admit that we are individually failing to collectively help our children will we begin to solve the many problems that exist.

I’ll Start:

I, LA, have failed the youth of America by not having a stronger voice in what kids are learning today, and by allowing the agenda to shift to ridiculousness, and still not helping kids be confident and empowered from the inside, where it matters.

If you think that the spirit of the ad is good, that the point should be to save lives, then I suggest we consider the following:

  1. If you are going to text and drive, make sure you reduce your speed to 25 mph
  2. If you are going to drive after you’ve drank or used drugs, make sure you have a passenger with you so that they can wake you up
  3. If you are going to physically abuse someone, start small

If you think an addict is going to remember to take drugs with a buddy, or start small, or any of these things, give me a call- I have a nice bridge to sell you… This will not save anyone. It is a license to a death sentence.

We ask for laws…we enact laws…we say things are illegal….and then we manage to justify them anyway…that’s our legacy…hypocrisy and taking the easy way out.

Rant NOT over…

105 thoughts on “The Problem is Us

  1. Thanks for posting this. I read of this in the NY Post and was unsure if this was ‘for real.’ It was unbelievable and just plain outright scary to read. Rant, rant, rant…we are happy to know you live in NY and are ranting and not crazy.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Just who is Florence, who that Quote is attributed to ? A young “empowered” junkie ? When I read that poster, I read NYC doesn’t care anymore about solutions to the drug problem. They threw up their hands and said “Ok Florence, you win. You can’t be changed, so we might as well just agree with you.” Or is Florence the young social media influencer who works for NYC ? Who felt the ONLY way to reach her generation is to tell them that it truly is Okay to be a junkie as long as your smart about it.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I get that but WHO is she ? if the bulk of the message was the opposite of her quotation with the concluding line DON’T BE A FLORENCE, I could get behind it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Perhaps the safe injection sites were getting too busy. Now NYC users don’t even need to venture out as long as they have a buddy. Sarcasm clearly intended.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m going to have to qualifiedly disagree here. The ad is in poor taste to be sure. What I have to disagree with is the last paragraph, “we enact laws” etc… indeed , you (USA) do and despite the illegality of the drugs you’re experiencing record drug overdose deaths (more than 100k in 2021, thats the entire population of some countries). Advocating the use of drugs may not be the answer, but decades of “just say no” show that criminalisation isn’t either.

    Addiction is a medical issue and has to be treated as such. The “war on drugs” at least has been aptly named, all it’s done is kill people who might otherwise have been saved.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We can’t expect an addict to behave rationally. Heroin and it’s use is illegal. Yet…the city just said it’s ok if you have a buddy, and they’ve set up heroin dens. Watch the overdoses sky rocket. We should be asking ourselves why people need to be high. That’s where we are failing. Why can’t people cope with reality?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s exactly the question. As an outsider my observations on America probably don’t count for much but there are two startling ones both related to healthcare. 1) the USA is the richest country in the world but seeking healthcare can and does put its citizens into poverty. 2) prescribed opiods are killing more citizens than heroin, because doctors are incentivised (i.e. are getting rich) to prescribe those drugs. 3) not healthcare but always worth mentioning, along with prescribed opiods the other two drugs causing death are the legal ones, alcohol and tobacco (which is true the world over) — why aren’t they illegal? It starts with ‘m’ and rhymes with honey.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. While money is clearly an issue…what worries me more is how easily controlled an uneducated and/or high populace is…one filled with addicts willing to do anything fir a fix

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Honestly that strikes me as skirting the issue and is exactly the type of thinking pharmaceutical companies are spending billions every year to instil in the populace. The only way a society is filled with addicts is if a society is filled with poverty — the connection between the two is absolutely blatant. It’s the exact same as the connection between the amount of guns and the amount of mass shootings, and likewise there are absurdly powerful lobby groups attempting to distract from that fact.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. We’ve just legitimized the use of illegal and highly addictive substances. All bets are off as to what constitute an outlandish, ludicrous, or off beat remark, thought or idea

        Liked by 1 person

      5. All bets except the ones involving looking at all the other places the same methods have been tried and noticing that they’ve seen marked improvements in the number of overdoses and addiction rates generally. Legitimised the use of highly addictive substances like alcohol, tobacco and sugar, all of which as pointed out are killing far more people than any illegal substance. I get this is an emotive subject and especially relevant to yourself of late but these types of unnuanced views on drug use have killed people and will continue to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I only see the rate of overdoses going up. And I see young people thinking heroin is ok. I’ll agree to disagree on whether or not this is the right course

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Fentanyl is the main source of overdose and it is not prescribed. It’s coming across the border through Mexico from China. We have had more deaths by fentanyl in one year than all the wars combined since Vietnam.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Hi E.A., yes thats true. Nonetheless prescibed opiods have still been causing more deaths than heroin itself – fluctuating slightly year on year but it’s particularly gross that legal medication is killing at anything like similar rates to illegal ones. Fentanyl seems to be a massive issue in the States, usually in combination with other substances — the fact is it’s being used illegally (quite frequently too as a substitute for prescribed pain medication, because it’s cheaper in the US to self medicate) but its illegality isn’t preventing that, because drug laws do not work.

        Liked by 2 people

      9. **To be more precise I should say prescription opiods are involved in more deaths than heroin since in most cases it is the “cocktails” that are most damaging. An important distinction, I will grant .

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Indeed it’d probably be a much quicker task to list the laws that do work than those that don’t 😅 the solutions to most problems are community and education based.

        Liked by 2 people

      11. Well the alternative to that is horrifying when you think about it. Nazi laws were laws and I can’t believe everyone who followed them believed them to be right. And even if THEY did, I can only hope that when our governments act tyrannically we won’t all follow them just because “it’s the law”. No civil rights movement if everyone just followed the law. No, the world of the law abiders is literally my worst nightmare.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. People who think they’re above the law is mine. And people who think they are right and others are wrong. And people who censor my speech. And people who tell me what to do with my body, which includes mask and vaccine mandates. And I could go on. However…there’s never been a day I’ve regretted a traffic law

        Liked by 1 person

      13. So what happens when it’s the law that’s censoring your speech? When the law dictates what to put in your body? Yes, sure there are good laws, that doesn’t mean all laws are good. Would you not place yourself above the law for these principles, or for any? Would you not say “no I won’t put that drug in my body just because it is the law that I must”? The law is only a human construct and as liable to be flawed as every other human construct yet imagined.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. The law didn’t ban Dr. Suess, or To Kill A Mockingbird. People did. UW says the word “see” is problematic, and we should never say “I see” because some people can’t see, so we aren’t treating people equally. Those aren’t laws…just things 8 think are stupid. Laws aren’t the problem. People are

        Liked by 2 people

    2. You are right on about the drugs being prescribed. My nephew struggled with a drug addiction, but in addition, he was on 7 different medications prescribed by his psychiatrist and an additional 4 medications by his doctor. He passed away a month ago and we’re still waiting for toxicology results. There is absolutely no way he should have been prescribed that much medication.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I am so sorry to hear that, I hope you and your family get some sort of justice although nothing will make up for the loss. Thanks for sharing your story.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. This is just crazy! First of all, being empowered is to Give power to, sanction, legitimize etc. So this ad is telling people to give power to their addictions, entitle them to break the law without consequences, and do so by bringing a friend along to become an accomplice in a crime. Um… NO WAY!
    This is nuts.
    As a 4th and 5th grade teacher I was part of the DARE program in Florida schools . (Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program). ALL public school children learned about the dangers of addiction and drugs, the damages drugs can do to one’s physical and mental health etc , and they wrote essays and learned NOT to take drugs. It was part of the National standards for education.

    This poster is absurd on so many levels. But I disagree LA. You and I are not responsible for this. We vote in National and local elections, we taught our children not to take drugs,, and we support organizations who don’t promote enabling addiction. Can we do more? Certainly. But this ad is just cray cray. I don’t know any rational person who would support this way of thinking. And Keeping drug education in schools would be a more important discussion for our political leaders than some of their ridiculous debates.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. As I used to say to my young adult children, “Your Uncle did not wake up one day and say to himself, ‘I think I’ll drop out of (studying) medicine and become a heroin addict’,” starting slow is a bad idea, it’s never anybody’s intention to slide into that life.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Have you seen Gabor Maté’s film about trauma? He states that addiction is about feeling disconnected… I’d much rather the ad was about the need to connect & contribute meaningfully to your fellow humans on a daily basis, including hugs & healthy food. Why isn’t that being provided/accessible to all. Seems like the US is avoiding dealing with the root of so many ills, which lead to destructive behaviors like mass shootings & drug addiction… 💔

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Oh, these comments are making me sad. I don’t know if you’ll leave this comment up or not, but addiction is an illness and if we as a country provided safe injection sites and resources for people to safely use and safely come off drugs, we wouldn’t be in such a crisis. Yep, it is a terrible decision to take drugs in the first place, but who here hasn’t made a bad decision? And should we just wash our hands of people who need help? If people are going to use (and they are), shouldn’t they be as safe as possible about it?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I worry about the twelve year old who sees this ad and thinks that it’s ok to use heroin under the “right” circumstances. I wonder what I would have said to my daughter at age five when she would read the ads on the bus and subway and ask me about it. So I’ll agree to disagree as to whether or not it’s a good idea

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I didn’t read that LA was “washing hands”, more that the message of the advertisement condones drug-taking. Of course the issue of addiction is complex, I think the points you raise are very valid, but the advert will probably miss it’s intended audience. It would probably be more useful to advertise locations where fit-packs can be obtained without the accompanying “warm fuzzies”.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Totally not washing hands. I don’t like an ad saying it’s ok to take a highly addictive drug if you do it safely. That’s a very bad message and agreed, this ad is not going to hit its intended audience

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I have a nephew trying to get off drugs. He goes to a methadone clinic to get him off heroin. But methadone is just another addiction (less serious but still, it’s another addiction). He has tried to get into places to detox but they tell him to get off the methadone first. He can’t handle the withdrawals. So he’s basically left to fight this on his own. It’s sick and sad.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. So this fits in with the whole , no judging thing , right? Instead of judging we look for someone else to blame, right ? I agree that we need to look in the mirror a lot more. When the Texas shootings happened, I could see two sides forming, or three. One, it’s the guns fault. Two, it’s society’s fault. And three, it’s a conspiracy to get votes for Democrats. I didn’t see many people blaming the shooter . Don’t get me wrong , I don’t think blame helps after the deed is done. But when we think about changing the future, we need to think about personal responsibility and free will . Not every abused or mentally I’ll person gets a gun and shouts up a school so we can’t blame it on that vague idea. This boy made a choice, most likely after he became convinced that he was a victim and deserved revenge on the world. This victim mentality is destroying our country. Drug addicts make choices, too. Don’t tell them they’re helpless or hopeless or lie to them about being falsely empowered. 🙄🤦🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I take responsibility for myself, my debts, my health, my well being, and my family. I accept responsibility for allowing idiocy to go on without opening my mouth enough. But you’re right…don’t judge…don’t blame…accept what you’ve contributed both good and bad (that’s the universal you, not the personal)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think we’re at the point where the victim narratives, CRT and it’s predecessors, have actually a problem. It’s not going to be easy to reverse the trend. I also believe that people need to help each other but that only works if there’s real accountability and consequences for our actions . I think the left wants to cancel those for everyone except the “right”, whoever that is.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. While we’re at it, let’s give a shout out to Big Pharma whose effective “physician education” programs have led to a massive opioid crisis. It seems now that they are at least partly responsible for the mass shootings. They have been pushing their legal drugs in the name of helping those with mental issues while not disclosing side effects that can accompany them, changing the nature of a person to become violent and aggressive. According to an indepth post (The Evidence for Antidepressants Causing Mass Shootings) in A Midwestern Doctor’s substack, “In the 1990s, school shootings transition from being very rare to a frequent facet of American life. As this timeline overlaps with the entrance of SSRIs to the US market, many articles have evaluated the link between mass shootings and psychiatric medications.” He goes into scientific and medical detail, but as I think back, the timeline does match up. (Just a warning, as this doctor also gives, if anyone is alarmed for themselves or a loved one, DO NOT take yourself off of any of these medications for depression, etc. without the supervision of a doctor!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We don’t educate we medicate, because we use band aids not cures. The question is are we clinically depressed and in need of medication, or are we just too lazy to look at ourselves in the mirror and work at something? Drugs are bad. Period. However we classify them, we should remember they are controlled substances.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. My nephew, who we buried a month ago, was going to a methadone clinic to get off drugs. In addition, his psychiatrist prescribed him two different anti-depressants, anxiety medication, sleep medication, another drug to help specifically with withdrawals from cocaine, and a weight loss medication (because the aforementioned drug caused him to gain a significant amount of weight). In addition, he was on other prescription drugs. How is this helping someone by overmedicating them? It’s awful what the medical community is doing.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. The ad is dumb. Not sure what the answer is. I’m all for giving out clean needles.

    For the commenter that talked about alcohol not being illegal—the US already tried making alcohol illegal and it didn’t work. I’m no expert but I don’t think it takes much to make your own alcohol at home.

    My sister is an alcoholic—so many barriers to getting her into treatment—but unless she is court committed she would never stay in treatment long enough for it to make a difference. That isn’t going to happen in our present system.

    I’m a nurse—and also the wife of someone who died of cancer. Now doctors are so afraid to prescribe opioids that those that need them experience a delay or don’t get them at all. I don’t know about all states that I know physicians are monitored in my state for the amount of opioids they prescribe. I’ll never forget as long as I live watching my husband suffer, who almost never complained about pain, while we waited for him to get the appropriate pain medication.

    As to the earlier statements about antidepressants–I think these medications are often misunderstood. I have taken them on and off throughout my adult life. To me they are no different than taking a medication for high blood pressure.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think some drugs are totally necessary, needed and warranted. I also think drugs are over prescribed. My mother in law would hound doctors to give her antibiotics which she would pop for a sniffle. I don’t think we always try to cure…I think we go for the quick fix, and that’s when we get into trouble. And yes…now people who would truly be helped are denied.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Do I understand most reactions expressed here? Yes, for I shared them on first reading. Then I stopped and thought about it for a while. I wondered if the ad was the work of some marketing types being jolly pleased with how clever they’re being, or whether it was a carefully crafted message aimed at addicts, to encourage them to come out of the shadows and embark on the long road to treatment? Bear in mind that most addicts suffer with cripplingly low self-worth and/or the impact of trauma, and addiction is their way to quiet or escape their demons. So, there has to be a way to reach and draw them in, and demonising them hasn’t worked.

    So, is it ill-conceived in that it can also be seen by the vulnerable and under-age members of society? Yes. But if you want to fix an individual’s addiction to drugs, you have to address what’s behind it – what caused the initial need. And I believe that’s what this ad is attempting to do. If by demonstrating their empathy, more addicts come forward and start to work on healing not only their physical addiction but also the problems which caused them to use, it’s worth a try.

    Finally, I actually find some of the negative comments here about mental health more eye opening than the ad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How many addicts are going to read the sign and take it to heart. Seriously…be pragmatic when thinking about the average person addicted to an abusive substance. The person most likely to be affected by this ad is a kid who has always been told drugs are dangerous, and here’s the department of health saying it’s ok as long as you’re using drugs safely. Bad message. I don’t think this is going to change the behavior of anyone who doesn’t want to be helped. That’s why it’s an addiction. And I don’t think someone who badly needs a fix is going to stop and say…hmmm….am I doing this safely? That’s why it’s an addiction. They can’t control their actions and thoughts to make a wise decision. How many people go in and out if rehab like a revolving door? Steven Tyler just had to cancel his Las Vegas residency because he’s had a relapse. This is barely a bandaid. As for mental health, you know I think that is the biggest crisis we face and you know I think that we will lose far more people to that then Covid.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do I think the ad smacks of desperation? Absolutely. But I imagine they’re pretty desperate and willing to try anything. Call it a Hail Mary pass. But clearly it’s an emotive issue so I’ll step away from the discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. This advertisement strikes a very sensitive chord in me…a heart that is still raw and tender from the loss of my nephew who struggled with drug addiction. We buried my brother-in-law just over a year ago from addiction. We buried his son just over a month ago. And now we’re praying his brother can find a way to overcome the same struggle…so that we don’t have to bury a third member. My nephews were introduced to drugs by THEIR FATHER (a rant I will avoid) when they were in high school. My poor sister tried everything in her power, but sadly, she is now grieving the loss of her oldest son. Our family has been devastated by the impact heroin (and other drugs) has had on us. This advertisement sickens me. It makes me incredibly angry. Drug use has grown, along with overdoses from it. We as a nation need to do better. We individually, yes, need to do better as well. It’s not just a stupid sign…it is ignorance at it’s best. There is no SAFE way to use drugs. It destroys brain cells. It destroys lives. It is killing people. Why are we trying to make it sound like a normal recreational activity that we just have to be safe with–like play football, but with a helmet. I’m getting angry…so I will stop now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sorry that you and your family have had to deal with this. My thoughts go to you all. But you’ve made a valid point in saying that this ad trivializes the drug as something recreational that can be controlled. It can’t. That’s the whole thing about addicts…there is no rationality or logic when an addiction takes over

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I don’t even have much to say….a rarity for me, as you know. I just read another blog post where the writer (someone I respect) was also worried about the state of our country, and most of the comments on his posts were upset that “right-wing Christian men” were still in control and standing in the way of progressives who are out to save our country. Personally, I think the main way we have failed as a country is the acceptance of the idea that only those who agree with us have anything of value to give at all. And that those who are a part of “our camp” are always right, about everything. That’s how we get to the point of accepting ridiculous things like that ad…..

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I saw this on social media and read it about a million times, because I thought I was missing something. To your point, I think we all need to admit that we’ve failed in a lot of ways and what you’ve mentioned, in addition to several pages of other items are the reason society is the way it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I think it is good that you shared this. I’ve also read all of the comments, and it’s good to see that people are passionate about their responses. I’ve learned so much already, and it’s only 10 in the morning. I am going to think about everything I’ve read. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  17. A well thought-out and well-expressed, as usual, rant LA. And, as usual and much appreciated, trail of comments. I’m in, I think, your camp, but probably a little more restricted re application in that we do what we can for/with those for whom we are responsible w/regard to what we’ll support and try to instill in them i.e. our own children. We can’t be responsible or often of much assistance to other young, vulnerable and impressionable people, which clearly is the viewpoint of some of your commenters.

    Liked by 1 person

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